Dozens of Tampa Bay-area pools are participating in the World's Largest Swim Lesson on Thursday.

The annual event was started by the World Water Park Association in 2010 as a way to raise awareness about the importance of teaching kids to swim.

Research shows the risk of drowning can be reduced by 88 percent if a child participates in a formal swimming lesson between the age of 1-4.

This year they are expecting 700 locations, from 29 countries to participate. Over the course of 24 hours, more than 45,000 kids will learn important water safety techniques.

Learning about overall water safety is just as important as learning your strokes, South Tampa YMCA aquatics experience director Jen Quijada said.

It’s not just about learning your strokes, it’s about learning overall water safety.

“Making sure you’re watching your children, using a Coast Guard-approved life jacket, that’s the kind of things that we want to teach the kids,” Quijada said. “Making sure that they are being safe around water.”

Click or tap here to view participating locations of the World's Largest Swim Lesson.

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Watch: Click or tap here to watch the Brandon Sports and Aquatic Center's senior director speak about the importance of the World's Largest Swim Lesson