Swimming safety education is getting a new push from an existing advocate.

To mark its 100th year, the American Red Cross announced today that it plans to teach 50,000 more people how to swim as part of a new drowning prevention campaign. A recent national survey conducted for the Red Cross in April found that people aren’t as good of swimmers as they think they are.

Eighty percent of respondents said they could swim, but only 56 percent of those can perform all five basic water safety skills: step or jump into the water over their heads, return to the surface and float or tread water for one minute, swim in a full circle and find an exit, swim 25 yards to the exit and exit from the water without using the ladder.

“We're asking every family to make sure that both adults and children can swim and that parents make water safety a priority this summer,” said Connie Harvey, director of the Red Cross Centennial Initiative.

With summer approaching and many families planning vacations with unattended water activities, the need to swim competently is critical. The survey found that only 2 percent of adults and about 20 percent of children ages 4-17 are likely to take swimming lessons this summer.

"Adults need to know how to be safe in the water even before they can protect their children, and can take a Red Cross swim course for adults,” Harvey said. “But just as importantly, parents should learn about water safety and know how to respond to a water emergency.”

The campaign will teach people how to swim in 50 selected cities across 19 states, with 10 cities in the initial campaign rollout. The locations were selected because of their high number or drowning deaths or high drowning rates, including those in Florida, Louisiana, California, Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Maryland and New York.