Home / Announcements

YMCA Aquatics Announces New Swim-Mark-Protect swimband System for Swimmers Under Age 16, to launch in Spring, 2018


aquaticsR1Central Bucks Family YMCA and Lower Bucks Family YMCA are committed to providing a safe and enjoyable pool experience for all. Beginning in Spring, 2018,any child under the age of 16 must complete the YMCA skills assessment and will be assigned a green, yellow or red swim band prior to swimming independently in our pools (see below for exceptions). These bands assist our certified lifeguards in keeping our swimmers safe. The Swim-Mark-Protect system is endorsed by Y-USA, the national governing body of Ys in the United States.

Testing occurs at the pools during the following times when an additional lifeguard is available:

  • Monday-Thursday: 8-11 am; 4-4:30 pm; 7:30-8:30 pm
  • Friday: 8-11 am; 4-4:30 pm; 6:15-6:45 pm; 7:30-7:45 pm
  • Saturday-Sunday: 1:15-1:30 pm; 3:15-3:30 pm; 5:15-5:30 pm (during these testing times, the slide will be turned off)


A green band allows swimmers to use the entire area of the pool, including the water slide when over 48” in height. To receive a green band, swimmers must demonstrate the following skills:

  • Can swim ½ a length of the pool on their stomach (freestyle or breaststroke) with strong horizontal position
  • Can roll onto their back and without stopping swim on their back for remainder of length of pool (regular or elementary backstroke) with strong horizontal position
  • Jump into deep end, return to surface and tread water for one minute


A yellow band indicates that a swimmer is shallow-water competent (no PFD) and allows swimmers to swim in the shallow areas of the pool, including the water slide when over 48” in height. To receive a Yellow Band, swimmers must demonstrate the following skills:

  • Is comfortable being in the water (but only where they can stand)
  • Can submerge underwater
  • Can swim basic strokes with forward movement, but no form or rhythmic breathing
  • Able to roll from a front position into a back float 
  • Can stand flat-footed in the shallow section with shoulders exposed or, if not, can tread water for a minimum of 10 seconds.


A red band indicates a non-swimmer, and requires youth to wear a life jacket or other coast guard approved personal flotation device (PFD.) A red band swimmer includes those:

  • uncomfortable being in the water alone
  • unable to put their face under water
  • unable to do back float
  • unable to pass the yellow or green band testing
  • who decline to take the evaluation


  • During recreational swim, parents with children IN BEACH AREA ONLY many choose not to have their child evaluated if they are in the water with them
  • Any youth wishing to swim in the cove/lanes (unless 1:1 with parent), must get tested and wear the appropriate band/equipment.
  • If child is in water with parent 1:1 and within arm’s reach, the child does not have to be tested at that time or wear their assigned band gear.


  • Wrist bands will be issued to child when testing is completed.
  • Testing level for each swimmer will be documented in our member management system and levels can be referenced by members and guests at our Welcome Center.
  • Members are responsible to keep their wristbands and bring on each visit. Replacement bands are available for $3. (First replacement is complimentary!)
  • Aquatics staff retains the right to require a retest if they feel it is necessary, for the safety of your child.
  • The Y provides life vests for the convenience of members. Members are also welcome to bring their own Coast Guard Approved flotation device.


What is considered adult supervision?

  • Age 16 or older
  • Actively watching swimmer in the water
  • If child is tested, wearing proper band gear and swimming in assigned area, the adult supervision is only required to be on the pool deck (observation room not included in ‘pool deck’ area)
    • For age 5 & under, parent needs to be in the water at all times, regardless of the swimming ability and band color of a child
    • For ages 6-11, parent needs to be in the water at all times, regardless of swimming ability and band color