WORCESTER, Mass. - The Baker-Polito administration launched an initiative to make water survival lessons free this spring. 

The program is called “Swim Safe Massachusetts.”

The British Swim School of Worcester said efforts like this will help make swim lessons more available to everyone. The state funded the school with money to offer free lessons to hundreds of central Massachusetts families. 

Owner Danny Bolivar said drowning rates in Massachusetts are on the rise. Drowning is now one of the top five causes of accidental deaths in children under five years old. Bolivar said accidents can happen at any age and it’s never too late or too early to learn how to swim.

“It is the only sport that can actually save your life,” Bolivar said. “It should be as important as wearing a seat belt and learning how to walk. Pretty much, if you sit your child in a chair in your car to prevent any accidents, you should also teach them how to swim.”

Bolivar said a child can start lessons as early as three months old. The school is offering the free lessons at locations in Paxton, Westborough and Worcester until June 30.