Safety and risk assessment

What you need to know before you swim outdoors

Thousands of people are rediscovering the joys and freedom of swimming outside in natural bodies of water.  Where as swimming pools are controlled and relatively safe environments,  when you venture outside it is different.  You can't leap unthinkingly into the sea as you might a pool.  You're back in nature, which is fabulous, but comes with risks you need to respect.  The more you know, the safer you'll be.

Top tips for staying safe

  • Think before you swim.  Check your entry and exit points and take into account currents and tides.
  • Don't mix swimming and drugs/alcohol
  • Enlist a swimming guide or swim with other people that know the area and have swum in the open water before.
  • Don't jump in.  Enter the water slowly to prevent 'cold water shock'.
  • Let people know where you are and what you are doing.  
  • Make sure you are visible in the water; a good way to do this is to have a brightly coloured tow float.
  • If someone gets in trouble, don't put yourself at risk; call for help - dial 999.
  • If you find yourself in difficulty FLOAT TO LIVE
  • If you are not confident enlist the help of a swimming guide who will