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Midstate YMCA first in northeast US to protect swimmers with new technology

  • Rachel McDevitt/StateImpact Pennsylvania


(Harrisburg) — A midstate YMCA is believed to be the first public facility in the northeast United States to use a new technology to help protect swimmers.

The Carlisle Family YMCA is equipping young and inexperienced swimmers with the SEAL SwimSafe Drowning Detection System.

Children at the Cleveland County YMCA in Shelby, North Carolina wear SEAL SwimSafe necklaces. (Courtesy: SEAL SwimSafe)

Swimmers get a necklace to wear in the pool, which communicates with a base station via a radio frequency. The frequency is cut off when the necklace is underwater and that triggers a flashing light on the necklace and an alarm on the base station.

“It get the lifeguard’s attention so they can look and see immediately, like, hmm, is this an emergency situation or is this someone that’s holding their breath or swimming underwater or looking for a toy that’s under the water, something of that nature,” said Justin Rose, associate executive director for the Carlisle Family YMCA.

The necklaces can be programmed to send an alert after a certain amount of time underwater, depending on the swimmer’s ability level.

Rose said the system provides another tool to assist lifeguards and added peace of mind to parents.

“It just adds one more piece to our commitment to make sure that anybody that comes into our pool–whether they’re members or guests or program participants–feel safe in our pool,” Rose said.

The Carlisle Family YMCA enrolls 1,500 children in its summer camps and offers swimming lessons year-round.

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