© Andréanne Lemire

Lire l’histoire de Sylvie Bernier

Raphaël was a happy child who loved water ...

In the summer of 2002, my nephew Raphaël drowned before my eyes during a guided activity on the Nouvelle River in Gaspésie. The boat that held my brother and his family hit a logjam and capsized. Raphaël was stuck inside the sunken boat, still wearing his life jacket. It was a terrible nightmare, leaving me with an incredible feeling of helplessness. Since that time, I have kept Raphaël's spirit alive through my activities on drowning prevention.«

All investigations, performed by the coroner's office into the drowning of a child in Quebec, recommend the implementation of the Swim to Survive® program. It costs only $30 per child! With your help we can offer this program to all Quebec schoolchildren.»

- Sylvie Bernier, marraine du programme

© Laurence Labat

In Quebec, nine children lose their lives through drowning every year.

Because half of the time, children don't know:

  • How to orient themselves at the surface after an unexpected entry.
  • How to support themselves at the surface and look for a safe location.
  • How to swim to safety.

Just because children love to play in the water, doesn't mean they know how to swim ...

That is why the Swim to Survive® Canadian standard, developed by the Lifesaving Society, teaches the basic skills that are required to survive an unexpected fall into deep water.

© Hervé Guillotel

The Swim to Survive® program

Swim to Survive® is comprised of 3 theoretical lessons on water safety and 3 practical pool sessions. It is available to elementary school children as of Grade 3. Following the program, children should be able to:

S’orienter à la surface de l’eau après une chute inattendue. Entrée par roulade
Se maintenir à la surface et repérer un lieu sûr. Nage sur place pendant 1 minute
Nager vers un endroit sécuritaire. Nage sur 50 mètres

Students also learn the importance of swimming with a buddy, checking ice thickness, wearing a personal flotation device (PFD) and looking before diving.

© Alain Lavigne

Support Sylvie Bernier and the Lifesaving Society

Our goal is to offer the Swim to Survive® program for all Grade 3 classes throughout Quebec, including in remote villages.

Each of your $30 donations will enable a student to learn how to Swim to Survive®.


See how your donation reduces the risk of drowning

Cost of the program

Costs include transportation, access to the pool, student instruction by a lifeguard or monitor, and relevant documents. A certificate is given to each student by the institution or partner organization to mark their level of achievement.

30 $
par élève

1 000 $
par classe

10 000 $
pour 300 élèves

Why target students in the 2nd cycle of elementary school?

Schools are the ideal point of reference for basic swimming instruction and water safety rules. In addition:

  • From the age of 8, children can swim without being accompanied by a parent.
  • The World Health Organization believes that it is at this age that children have the necessary judgment to integrate these potentially life-saving skills into their frame of reference.

Make an even bigger difference as the head of a company

By making a $10,000 corporate donation to the Lifesaving Society, you are giving 300 more students the opportunity to take the Swim to Survive® program for free while also earning you the title of Honorary Ambassador.  

The impact of this gesture is reflected in the hundreds of certificates of achievement awarded to as many proud, smiling young people. Most importantly, it is reflected in the hundreds of lives that can be saved—thanks to you.

© Alain Lavigne