Elementary school kids stepped out of the classroom, for a lesson in the water.

The Friends of the Chemung River teamed up with the Elmira Fire Department for a safety class Friday. Around 450 students learned things like what to do if their boat or canoe tips over. Organizers say it’s crucial to teach kids now, especially with school getting out very soon.

“I really believe that this saves lives because a lot of kids at all these schools are at or below the poverty level, they don't have backyard pools, they don't have sprinklers. When it gets hot, they go down to the river and they go swimming. That's not safe ever. So we give out life preservers to them and to teach them don't go into the river without life preservers and so on," said Jim Pfiffer, Chemung River Friends Executive Director.

After the class, life vests were handed out to students who need them.