-PROGRAM DESCRIPTION- 

In an effort to introduce more of our local Virgin Islands' youth to the marine environment, VIMAS launched a free, Learn to Swim Program in November of 2018 with funding support from the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands. Swimming serves as the foundation for many aquatic activities such as snorkeling and scuba diving; this Learn to Swim Program teaches Virgin Islands youth basic swimming skills to scuba training that can help to improve their understanding and appreciation for the ocean environment. 

Learn to Swim Program Group Photo


-ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA / IMPORTANT INFORMATION-

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  • Child should be in grades 1-12 (children as young as age 3 are eligible to apply). 
  • Interested applicant must reside on St. Thomas. (Persons on St. Croix should call 340-773-0160 for details on the St. Croix program coordinated through the Department of Sports Parks and Recreation). 
  • There is no cost to attend this program; however, applicants are accepted on a rolling basis. There is no selection process for this program; once you submit an online application along with the required release forms (and space is available for the intended course) your child/children will be accepted into the program. Do note that spaces will not be reserved if you have an incomplete application. Returning students are required to submit an application should they wish to partake in the program again. 
  • An insurance policy is obtained for the program which covers all students, instructors, and volunteers whose information is provided prior to the start date of the program.  
  • The St. Thomas program operates on Saturday mornings, on Brewers Bay Beach. Two sessions are facilitated, Session 1 from 9:00 AM - 10:30 AM and Session 2 from 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM.   
  • Prior to the start date of the program, there will be an orientation meeting held at the University of the Virgin Islands; at this meeting, parents and children can meet the program team, learn more about the program, and receive program materials such as rash guards and snorkel guidebooks.  

-COURSE AND REGISTRATION INFORMATION-

LEARN TO SWIM PROGRAM: COVID-19 UPDATE

The 2020 Learn to Swim Program has been postponed until further notice in the essence of public safety. As soon as conditions within the territory are favorable for activities such as these which constitute large gatherings, the program will resume.  Again, we do apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.   

The VIMAS Learn to Swim Program is structured into 3 courses intended to meet applicant needs and their current skill level. Please be sure to read the descriptions provided for each course so that you can accurately register your child for the correct course. All applicants are required to complete the Code of Conduct and Release Forms (found below) in addition to completing their online registration form for their intended course. The Code of Conduct covers the guidelines and regulations for the program, the Liability form ensures that the University is not held liable for accidents and injuries during this program, and the Photo release form enables our team to use pictures obtained during the program for publication of the program (press, etc.) and for documenting and reporting successes of the program to our funders. All supporting documents can be E-mailed to howard.forbes@live.uvi.edu. Please ensure to include your child's name in the name of the file(s) being sent. 
Please note that your application is not complete until the online registration form along with the supporting documents are received; applicants are enrolled on a rolling basis

code of conduct release forms

Beginner Course: Learn to Swim

beginner  water safety

Recommended age: 3 and up If you answer "Yes" to any of the criteria listed below, it is recommended that your child be registered for this course using the register button below. In this course, children will learn the following skills: (NOTE: this is not a comprehensive list) how to submerge their heads and bodies underwater, how to tread water, use arms and legs simultaneously to move in water, and tips for being safe in or near water. 

  • Child has difficulties submerging head underwater
  • Child cannot tread water 
  • Child cannot float on their back in water 
  • Child has little to no experience with swimming  

beginner registration  

Intermediate Course: Snorkeling and Animal Identification

Intermediate course  animal ID

Recommended age: 5 and up. If your child can perform any of the skills listed below, it is recommended that they register for this course using the register button below. This course will review the safe and proper use of snorkel equipment (fins, mask, and snorkel) and snorkeling in shallow waters (not greater than 10 feet) to identify common marine animals. Each child in this course will receive a Snorkel Guidebook for the Caribbean which will be used during the program. 

  • Child should be comfortable submerging under water 
  • Child should be able to float on back in water 
  • Child should be able to swim using the front stroke
  • Must pass swim test administered on Day 1 to continue with this course; applicant's that fail this test will be placed in the Beginner course (if space is available). 

intermediate button 

Advanced Course: Advanced Snorkeling Skills and Scuba Training   

Advanced course  advanced scuba

Recommended age: 7 and up.. If your child can perform any of the skills listed below, it is recommended that they register for this course using the register button below. This course will review advanced snorkeling techniques and free diving to depths between 10-15 feet, proper equalization of air spaces (ears and nose), animal identification, and a brief overview of confined scuba diving in shallow water. Each child in this course will receive a Snorkel Guidebook for the Caribbean which will be used during the program (unless they were previously provided one in the Intermediate course). Any child that is 12 years or older and exceptionally completes this course, can be recommended by their instructor to receive scuba training at the Coki Dive Center which is covered by the program. 

  • Child should be comfortable submerging head underwater to swim
  • Child should have a clear understanding on how to snorkel 
  • Child should be able to float on their back in water 
  • Child should be able to swim a distance of 15 meters using any stroke
  • Must pass swim test administered on Day 1 to continue with this course; applicant's that fail this test will be placed in the Intermediate course (if space is available).  

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-PROGRAM EXTENSIONS: SUMMER PROGRAMS-

joe YOE STT

Students that complete the Learn to Swim Program are excellent candidates to participate in either the 1-week Junior Ocean Explorers Summer Program which is open to students in grades 3-6 or the 4-week Youth Ocean Explorers Summer Program which is open to students in grades 7-12. Through these programs, students can use their newfound swimming skills to explore our nearshore Caribbean waters to learn about the variety of life that exists within our oceans. You can click either of the images above or the buttons below to register for the respective program you are interested in.  

joe  yoe stt


- CONTACT US -   new

Office Phone: St. Thomas (340) 693-1672
E-mail: St. Thomas (howard.forbes@live.uvi.edu)
Website: http://vimas.uvi.edu
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Virgin Islands Marine Advisory Service
Center for Marine and Environmental Studies
University of the Virgin Islands

St. Thomas
#2 John Brewers Bay
St. Thomas, USVI 00802