Trailside Elementary School and Kids Don't Float partner up for boating safety education

ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Capsizing a canoe or practicing falling over board certainly aren't in the everyday lesson plans for students, but last week, that's exactly what kids from Trailside Elementary did.

Taking a break from the classroom, students in the school's swimming program worked with Kids Don’t Float to improve their boating safety skills. In particular, they were taught cold water immersion survival skills.

“In Alaska, five out of six boating fatalities are a vessel capsize, swamping, or falling overboard,” said Kelli Toth, Alaska Office of Boating Safety Education Specialist.

Regardless of student’s abilities, she said, the biggest takeaway lesson is to make sure kids wear life jackets each and every time they are boating.

“You need to wear a life jacket even though you are a good swimmer," said Savannah Linnell, student at Trailside Elementary. "You need to wear a life jacket, because, what if the boat tips over and you don’t have a life jacket? Then you won't really be able to go up in time to get air."

Before students jumped into the pool, they were introduced to cold water survival lessons in the classroom. Students learned what could happen in an incident, and then practiced their skills in a "fun and safe" environment.

The Kids Don’t Float program offers services throughout Alaska. With the help from parents at Trailside Elementary School, students are taught three weeks of swimming lessons with a week-long component in the classroom and the rest in the pool.

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