About Safe Swim NYC

How You Can Make an Impact

How Safe Swim NYC Will Make a Difference

Safe Swim Resources

New York City Swimming by the Numbers



Safe Swim NYC is Asphalt Green’s initiative to help all New Yorkers access safe swimming opportunities. This means training lifeguards, conducting learn-to-swim classes, and providing educational resources to help keep kids and adults safe in the water. 

Unfortunately, not everyone in New York has equal access to the water. Multiple heat waves in the summer of 2022 saw New Yorkers looking for ways to stay cool. For many, this meant a trip to the beach or public pool. 

However, due to a national lifeguard shortage, there were barely enough lifeguards to keep public pools and beaches open, and many were forced to operate on reduced hours. Numerous learn-to-swim programs serving tens of thousands of people across the city were also canceled.  

There is a double threat to safe swimming in New York City. Not only are New Yorkers not learning how to swim year-round, but even people with strong swimming skills can’t access pools or beaches without lifeguards present during the summer months.   

We need your help.

Asphalt Green will continue to work with our partners to ensure that New York City has enough lifeguards to keep our pools and beaches open, and that all New Yorkers have access to learn-to-swim programming.  

Please, donate today to Safe Swim NYC. Your gift will expand these programs and help make sure that all New Yorkers can stay safe and have fun – this summer and for every summer to come.

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$40 provides one hour of lifeguard instruction for 10 students


$100 provides a professional-grade swimsuit, goggles, and a swim cap for one lifeguard


$350 provides full lifeguard certification for one student


$2,000 outfits a class of lifeguards with necessary swim equipment


$7,000 is what it takes to certify a full class of lifeguards

If you are able to make an in-kind or direct donation, please contact

For media inquiries, contact

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Safe Swim NYC will see lifeguards through training, certification and hiring, so that New York pools and beaches can stay open. This will mean recruiting potential lifeguards, administering swim training, and certifying them in Red Cross First Aid, CPR, and AED as well as seeing them through the American Red Cross lifeguard course and exam.   

In some cases, we will train less experienced swimmers who require more instruction before they can pass the lifeguard certification course. In other cases, we will provide candidates who are already strong swimmers with the training they need to become lifeguards. 

Lifeguards who complete training at Asphalt Green will staff pools around the city. We will work with the New York City Parks Department to ensure that the city has enough lifeguard staff during a national lifeguard shortage. 


The children learning to swim today will be the lifeguards of the future.

Asphalt Green has decades of experience teaching kids to swim. We will use this experience to expand our own learn-to-swim programming through Safe Swim NYC. Our Waterproofing program has taught over 35,000 New York students to swim since 1994. In the 2019-2020 school year alone – before the recent global health crisis – our instructors reached over 3,500 students from 75 public schools across 10 sites. 

Unlike other learn-to-swim programs, Waterproofing is a months-long course that takes place during the school day, so that the majority of participants have the time to develop stronger swimming skills. 

More than half of participants who start the program have never swum before. Over 90% of students who complete at least 25 lessons:   

  • Are comfortable being fully submerged in water   
  • Can float on front and back   
  • Are able to tread water   
  • Can move 10 yards with confidence in deep water   

The Waterproofing program doesn’t stop at water safety:   

  • 75% of graduating participants can swim at least 10 yards.   
  • 65% of graduating participants can swim 20 yards.  

Learn More About Waterproofing


In addition to our local efforts, we will develop educational resources that reach beyond New York City. These resources will be free for anyone to access and will include tips for safe swimming, informational graphics, instructional videos, and more. It is our hope that a free library of educational materials will help keep more people safe in the water. 


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  • 857 lifeguards in the Parks Department

  • Only 60% of lifeguard positions filled, but all public pools open

  • 1 in 3 public pools in the US are affected by the lifeguard shortage (103,000 pools) 


Lifeguard Instruction:

  • 20 students per class 
  • 2 instructors for 20 students 
  • $80/hour for 20 students ($4 per student per hour) 
  • $7,000 for 20 students over 12 to 16 weeks 
  • $190,000 and 4 months to make up the current lifeguard shortage 



  • 51 outdoor pools in the Parks Department system (2 closed for renovations)
  • 150,000 New Yorkers per pool 
  • 50 indoor pools in the Department of Education 
  • 54% of Department of Education pools are in operation (27/50) 



  • 58 drowning deaths since 2008 in NYC 
  • 4 drowning deaths in the first half of 2022 
  • Nationwide, drowning is the second-leading cause of death in under-14s 
  • Over 1 in 4 New York City children can’t swim (27.5%) 
    • 1 in 10 white children (8.7%) 
    • 1 in 4 Latino children (25.8%) 
    • 1 in 3 Black and Asian children (35.6% and 34.3% respectively)  


Are you a certified lifeguard or swim instructor? Join the Asphalt Green team to help bring safe swimming to all New Yorkers, apply now.


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