For more than 15 years, the Marco Island YMCA’s Miss Dottie has hosted the Waterwise Program for third grade students. What began with only Tommie Barfield Elementary students extended to Manatee Elementary school a number of years ago.
The one-day program receives help from the Marco Island Fire Department and the Marco Island Coastguard Auxiliary Flotilla 95to teach students water safety.
On May 22, Coastal Breeze News stopped by as Manatee Elementary third graders were enjoying a day of knowledge as well as some fun in the sun.
Flotilla 95 set up its new station which consists of a steering column and a working radio. Members of the flotilla taught the children about the steering column,the importance of life jackets and how to use the radio to call for help. Then, into the water they went. The students learned how to properly get into a safety raft and then learned the safety float, consisting of leaning back with one’s life vest on and pulling the knees into the chest.
Miss Dottie performed swim testswith every child, taught swimming pool etiquette and worked on rescue techniques with the children on the side of the pool.
The Fire Department worked with students in the deep end of the pool, helping them understand that a life vest will keep them afloat. They also practiced CPR and other life-saving skills.
After moving through each station, the childrenhad some free time to play in the pool. All the kids admitted to having a great time – even the ones that weren’t so sure about getting in the water.
The compassion shown by Miss Dottie, the Marco Island Fire Department and Flotilla 95 gave the children at Manatee a day of safe fun in the pool – something they may not often experience.