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Treading Water

Jump Off the Boat Course after Deep Water Play: treading is now inevitable

You Can Learn to Tread If You Feel Safe

Popular opinion says that if someone could just learn to tread water, he or she would suddenly be safe in deep water.

The fact is, you have to already be safe in deep water to learn to tread.

Treading water is not a safety skill. It is a skill of convenience.

Let’s wait for the shouting and objections to die down!

There! Now we can explore it.

She is beginning to know the water.
From that, treading emerges effortlessly.

Do Afraid Students Learn to Tread?

No. As experts in this field, we invite anyone who has ever seen an afraid student learn to tread water sustainably to email us!

A person who’s unsafe in water cannot learn to tread sustainably. How many have become discouraged that they didn’t learn? It’s not their fault. It’s exhausting. They’re worried about sinking, dying, panicking, or drifting away from the edge. Even if they can move their arms and legs “like this,” they can’t learn: they’re not completely present.

The idea that someone who’s unsafe in deep water can learn to tread is not reasonable. We state this out loud so you can let yourself off the hook.

She "gets" the water

Learning to tread does not make you safe. Being safe makes you ready to learn to tread.

A person desperate to learn to tread water is in the very state that prevents learning: dependent on something (treading) outside of him/herself.

He has to be calm, safe, and comfortable in order to absorb the many lessons leading up to treading water. And if the teaching is done well, treading will appear naturally and effortlessly out of the blue… and it will last.

When you see someone treading, looking as though they don’t have a care in the world, it’s not because they know how to tread. It’s because they know they are safe, whether they tread or not.

Not worried. Therefore, she could learn.


Treading is a convenience skill that makes it easy to look around, talk to people, get your bearings, and do things in deep water. It is not meant to keep someone safe. You have be safe and feel safe before you can learn to tread.

Start at the beginning and skip no steps. It is inevitable that you’ll learn to tread when you are fully present in deep water: you know how the water works. It just takes a little time and focusing on the right things. That’s Miracle Swimming.

Founder Melon Dash speaks about learning to tread.