Top tips to enjoy the open water safely this summer

Top tips to enjoy the open water safely this summer

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 here 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.