Nearly half of adults can't swim well enough to save themselves

(NBC News) - Whether it's going to the beach, taking the kids to a water park, or going for a dip in the pool, most Americans are getting ready to spend their summer in the water. But a new report from the American Red Cross shows many Americans believe they are better swimmers than they actually are.

While 80 percent of Americans said they could swim, only 56 percent of them can perform all five basic skills needed to swim safely.

With the unofficial start to summer underway, it may be a good idea to keep these skills in mind before getting into the water.

“Most Americans can’t swim nearly as well as they believe they can,” said Laura Howe, a Red Cross spokeswoman.

The organization has released a survey that found that while 80 percent of adults claim they could swim, 44 percent of them also admit they would fail a basic test. 

“Less than half of Americans can actually do all of the five skills that can potentially save your life in the water," Howe said.

Those skills are: floating or treading for 1 minute, jumping into deep water and coming up for air, spinning around in the water and then finding a way out, getting out of a pool without a ladder and swimming one pool length without stopping.

An average of 10 people drown every day. Two of those 10 are children age 14 or younger, according to the Red Cross, citing statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Although four in ten parents of children ages 4-17 reported that their child can perform all five basic swimming skills, more than 90 percent of them acknowledged their child was highly likely to participate in water activities this summer.

The new Red Cross campaign strives to reduce the drowning rate by 50 percent in 50 cities over the next three to five years.