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Piloted here at Penn State, the National Note & Float Water Safety Program aims to identify all non-swimmers who enter the facility and then “float” them with an appropriately-sized lifejacket. Lifejackets are available free of charge at all pools, including our Olympic-size outdoor pool.

Why require lifejackets for non-swimmers?  It is our belief that lifejackets help provide an additional layer of safety for non-swimmers of all ages. 

Note and Float Logo

Moreover, non-swimmers may become motivated to learn to swim with the end goal of being able to use the facility without a lifejacket.  By requiring all non-swimmers to wear a lifejacket, we further reduce the perceived stigma of only a few people wearing the jackets. After following the Note & Float program for over five years, it is our experience that both children and adults alike are supportive of this program.

How does it work?

  1. ALL non-swimmers must be registered at the facility prior to or upon entry.  Please see our Note & Float staff member upon arrival and to arrange for a swim test.
  2. Parents/Guardians/Supervisors (at least 16 years of age) must ACTIVELY SUPERVISE their children and keep young non-swimmers (seven years of age and under) within arm’s reach (“touch supervision”).
  3. Anyone who wishes to access deep water (greater than five feet deep) must pass the facility swim test or wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved lifejacket.  You may only take a swim test once per day.
  4. Non-swimmers less than four feet tall or seven years of age and under must wear both a clearly identifiable wrist band and a USCG-approved lifejacket, and must remain in designated shallow water areas
  5. Non-swimmers ages eight through twelve must wear a clearly identifiable wrist band and a USCG-Approved lifejacket, and must be actively supervised by a swimming parent, guardian, or supervisor (at least 16 years of age).

Swim Test

The purpose of the Penn State Swim Test is to assess an individual’s overall comfort level in the water and swimming proficiency.

  • Swim 25 yards (75 feet) NONSTOP using the FRONT CRAWL (“FREESTYLE”)

    • Body must be horizontal

    • Flutter kick required: no bent knees or “bicycling” kick

    • Face in water; Rhythmic breathing to front or side

    • Over water arm recovery (No dog paddle)

  • Jump into deep water, surface unassisted, tread water for ONE minute in a vertical position with mouth above the water lin

  • Exit from pool unassisted.