There has been a recent push of articles regarding banning breath holding in pools lately as well as a segment on Good Morning America. This media coverage and efforts by certain interest groups has resulted in the ban of breath holding activities in New York City and Santa Barbara, California.
I do not deny that are fatalities happening in pools from people holding their breath. I can easily understand the reaction of many groups who want to ban breath holding in pools. I certainly disagree that banning these activities will lead to reducing fatalities.
In fact I believe it will increase these fatalities… Allow me to explain.
- Swimming has risks, people die in swimming pools all across the United States every year. The aquatics industry does not ban swimming. It understands education is the key and promotes swimming instruction. These courses happen by certified swimming instructors.
- Scuba diving has risks. To deal with those risks people must take scuba classes in order to learn how to scuba dive safely. Most of these scuba classes happen at public pools. Scuba instructors have insurance and pools are placed as additional insured on the insurance policies.
- Freediving and breath holding have risks, and people learn how to do so safety by taking freediving courses through licensed and insured instructors just like in scuba and swimming. Freediving instructors have insurance and the pools are listed as additional insured just like scuba. These courses happen in public pools just like scuba.
As an advocate for freediving safety I am running into more and more problems by pools saying no breath holding activities and placing arbitrary bans on breath-holding – which blocks me from teaching people how to do this sport safely.