Legislature approves $220K bill for swimming lessons, lifeguard training

The funding would help at-risk and low-income children learn to swim, as well as address lifeguard shortages.
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The Minnesota Senate approved funding on Monday that aims to combat the recent spike in child drownings in the state.

The Senate approved a Legacy Finance bill Monday that includes $220,000 to help low-income and at-risk children learn to swim.

The funding would also address lifeguard shortages in the state, which comes after a decline in available trained lifeguards because of the COVID-related restrictions in 2020.

The bill will now head to Gov. Tim Walz’s office.

The legislation follows a string of drownings in the state so far in 2021, including several fatal incidents involving children.

“We have experienced far too many water-related tragedies this year,” said Sen. Mike Goggin (R-Red Wing), the Senate bill’s author, in a statement.

“My heart breaks for these families who will never get to see their loved ones again; I can’t imagine the grief they are dealing with. Being a strong swimmer will not end these accidents overnight, but it will be a massive help.”

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On June 13, 9-year-old Geoffrey Compton drowned in Carver Lake in Woodbury while celebrating his birthday. There were no lifeguards on the beach at the time of the drowning.

Earlier this month, a 12-year-old boy died after he was found unresponsive at North Commons Water Park in Minneapolis, while in North Mankato, a 9-year-old boy died in a drowning at Spring Lake Park Swim Facility, temporarily closing the pool.

In total, there have been 25 water-related deaths in Minnesota this year, including five involving children, according to FOX9

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