Wednesday, October 20, 2010


     I have met quite a few New Yorkers during my time living here that can’t swim, and find it’s more than I originally realized.  It blows my mind whenever I find out.  Having grown up on a beach in New Jersey surfing many months of the year, it was a requirement of my youth.  I really can't tell you how I learned, because children that grow up near water just pick it up at some point.  All I know is, I'm very confident in the water.  This is not always the case for people who grew up in our land locked states.  A lot of people only know basic swimming from the time they spent in pools or lakes as children.  Some people will out right admit they don't know how to swim at all, due to never being taught, and having spent little to no time in large bodies of water.

     Turns out everyone actually does know how to swim, or at least did at some point of their lives.  Our bodies, like an animal's instinct, know exactly what to do.  What it boils down to when you get older is fear, and panic.  In a panicked tense state, your body will sink like a rock.  This leads most people to believe they can't swim, or are afraid to try.  Swimming, like most activities in life, is confidence, with a touch of familiarity.  Being able to jump into deep water while remaining calm and confident can be difficult for people who have had bad experiences when young.  The only real way to combat this is to swim in a safe environment like a pool.  Especially a somewhat shallow pool.  Then you can move up from there, going deeper and deeper, on your way up to ocean swimming.

     Swimming is a core requirement for the NYC Survivalist.  First of all, we in Manhattan live on an island.  I know it does not always feel like it, but it’s true; we are surrounded by water on all sides.  Second, there are no guarantees that the bridges and ferries will be open or in working conditions at all times.  Now I’m not saying that you should jump in the East, or Hudson river's and try and test your abilities as a swimmer, because chances are with those currents, you probably won't make it.  I’m suggesting that you take a few classes, and get the basics down.  

     Just because we live in the concrete jungle, doesn't mean we don' have options.  Places like the YMCA have indoor pools and classes you can take.  During the summer, you can use one of the many public pools NYC offers and get more familiar with swimming in a safe environment.  Or, if you would like to keep it a bit more personal, you can take private lessons.  

     Like I said before, swimming is confidence.  The only way you will get confident and comfortable in water, is to be in water.  Swimming is an amazing full-body work-out, and it's a cardiovascular powerhouse.  Even if you do a few laps a week in a pool, you will see results instantly.  On top of the fact that swimming, like jogging, is very therapeutic and let's you fall into a zen like state. 

     Other than a survival essential, it’s a life essential!  You can stock the most perfect, abundant provisions, but if you don’t know something as fundamental as swimming, there’s a big problem here and you are missing the point of survivalism.  You're not going to be much help in a disaster, if your the one needing the help.  You have to remember why we do this; to help you, and those you love live, prepare, and survive anything that comes our way so we can continue to have a happy, comfortable life.


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