With a vast amount of information available on the internet, to guide you towards having a fun safe swim, it can sometimes be quite confusing as to what to do.
REMEMBER we are all different and the reasons for your friend being in the water might not be the same as yours. With so many benefits cold water swimming is attracting a vast array of individuals; some yearning the thrill of wave jumping, some for distance swimming and fitness whilst others focus on the social aspect and enjoy meeting friends.
The most important factor for all those in the water is Safety First, ensuring you respect the water and listen to your body.
Sea swimming should be fun and safe
Assess your chosen spot at high and low tide to identify any hidden hazards, rips, groynes, rocks etc
Findout the sea and weather conditions by looking at webcams or internet sites such as Magicseaweed before you leave home. If the tide is too high or low for your beach you won’t have had a wasted journey.
Ensure you understand how the tide affects the beach. Are entry points only available at certain tides? Consider how high the tide has to be before your beach disappears and how low before there is insufficient water in which to swim. Are tidal pools only exposed at certain tide heights?
Take time to consider where to park. Some swimmers like to have a little walk after their swim to warm up and park away from the beach. Others like to jump in their cars and get home.
Your decision only!! If you get to the beach and don’t like the look of the conditions, feel unsure or unwell – DONT GO IN. Stay and watch the sea, learn how the beach is affected by the conditions. If you feel a little nervous swim parallel to the shore.
Find out the safest entry/exit point onto the beach. Steps you usually use might be covered by the water if the tide is higher than the last time you came.
Ideally get changed as close to the water’s edge as possible. Not only can you keep your eye on your belongings but you won’t have so far to walk back to get changed, especially if the tide is going out.
Remember to put all your clothes the right way round. There’s nothing worse than trying to put your jumper on if its inside out when you have cold hands. Wrap them around a hot water bottle to keep them toasty and put your towel on top. If raining ensure it’s in a waterproof bag. Raise your bag off the sand if possible to prevent unwanted “messages” from dogs and be aware pesky seagulls might try and drag it away.
Swim with a buddy or have someone watch you from the beach. If you do have to go on your own tell someone where you are going and how long you think you will be. Take a phone with you. You can buy phone cases that will keep your phone dry so it can go with you in the water. Consider buying a tow float to make you visible; some even store your phone.
Time to have FUN. At first walk in to the sea, splash your body and face before fully entering the water; this allows you time to acclimatise. However as you get used to the water you will find which way you like to enter the sea as there is no right nor wrong way. Scream, swear, splash, jump or run whatever you like as long as you have a grin and a glow.