By: Blonde Two

Whether you live in the middle of London or the depths of the countryside the recent sunny weather and the continuing closure of swimming pools because of the coronavirus crisis may be tempting you to try outdoor swimming for the first time. As a result you might be asking yourself the question, ‘Is outdoor swimming safe?’ As you know I am a keen outdoor or wild swimmer (more or less the same thing), and an eager sharer of its wellbeing benefits, both physical and mental. Wellbeing however is no good at all if you are not safe, and unfortunately even the calmest of water is an inherently risky environment. There has been plenty written on this topic and we recommend the excellent advice from the RNLI and the Outdoor Swimming Society as well as the sea swimming safety tips below:

  1. Read swimming safety signs and note the location of life buoys
  2. Never swim if there is a red flag flying
  3. Be aware that some UK beaches do not have lifeguard cover (especially during the coronavirus crisis)
  4. Enter the water slowly (UK waters can be very cold)
  5. Don’t use inflatables (they make it easier for the wind to blow you out to sea)
  6. Look out for each other (take it in turns to stay on shore and watch)
  7. Stay visible with a bright hat and/or a tow float
  8. Learn about rip currents and what to do if one gets hold of you
  9. In an emergency dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard
  10. If in doubt, stay out (the sea will be there another day)

Sea swimming is a wonderful hobby but here in the Southwest our emergency services are currently under pressure and we are experiencing extremely full beaches. Because of the coronavirus we have a very reduced lifeguard service but would like to offer our ongoing thanks to those that continue to put themselves at risk for our safety. We would encourage you to donate to the work of the RNLI here.