20 top tips to enjoy the water safely whilst swimming outdoors.
Plan your day
- Think about the water temperature and weather.
- Plan your exit before you get into the water. Consider any currents, the tidal flow and wind direction.
- Use a recognised venue.
- Research the area – make sure it is safe and you know where to get in and out of the water.
- Take time to read the warning and guidance signs and research location advice.
Have the right equipment
- Wear a brightly coloured swimming hat.
- Take a Tow float.
- Warm dry clothes ready – Parka Robes are widely used by open water swimmers.
- Bring a warm drink.
- Take something to refuel.
Take a buddy with you
- Bring a swimming partner.
- Tell someone else where you are going and how long you expect to be.
Know your limits
- Reduce the impact of cold water shock, acclimatise in the home environment and enter the water slowly. Click for more information.
- Unless you are a competent open water swimmer, used to swimming in a particular environment you should swim under the supervision of lifeguards.
- Swim parallel to the shoreline, wherever possible stay away from deeper water, which will be colder.
- Plan and be aware of your exit points.
- Avoid drifting in the currents.
Know how to stay safe and get help
- If you get into trouble or feel overwhelmed – Float to Live.
- Fight your instinct to thrash around.
- Lean back.
- Catch your breathe.
- Now think about getting out.
- Familarise yourself with any rescue support or public rescue equipment.
If someone is in difficulty in the water
- Shout reassurance to them and shout for help, and ensure the emergency services are on their way (call 911).
- Without endangering yourself, see if you can reach out to them, extend your reach with a stick, pole, item of clothing, lie down or stay secure. Alternatively throw something buoyant to them such as a ring buoy, part-filled plastic container, ball, or anything that will float.
- Keep your eye on them all the time and shout reassurance, urging them to propel themselves to safety.