South Bend - Memorial Day weekend is here and that means the unofficial start to summer.
Summer is full of activities, like swimming and boating, that involve being in or on the water.
New research by the American Red Cross shows eight out of ten Americans can swim. But when it comes down to it, roughly half are able to perform critical water kills needed to save lives.
These skills are known as "water competency" levels.
Every day, an average of 10 people die in the U.S. from unintentional drowning – with 20 percent of them children 14 or younger,
They include the ability to step or jump into water over your head, float or tread for a minute, turn around in a full circle while in water, swim 25 yards, and the strength needed to pull yourself out of a pool.
The lack of skills can have deadly consequences. Every day, an average of 10 people in the United States drown.
"You have to understand that you only need three inches of water to drown. You need to be careful in any body of water that you see," said Walter Osario with the South Bend Kroc Center.
Twenty percent of those drowning are children 14 or younger.
"Some of our main rescues that we do are little kids who don't understand the water and they just jump in."
Osario also emphasized the importance of keeping an eye on children at all times.
The Kroc Center offers a variety of water safety classes. For information on those, click here.