7 tips for staying safe in the water this summer from Swim England
- Should you be swimming here?
Before going in the water anywhere outdoors, ask yourself whether you should be swimming there. Look for warnings or guidance signs which may alert you to dangerous places to swim. Is there a safe place to enter and exit the water? If the answer is no, look for somewhere else.
- Don’t expect a solid pool floor
So it might sound obvious, but when you’re swimming outdoors – unless you’re in one of the many fantastic lidos around the country – you won’t have a secure, solid pool floor underneath you. The bed of a lake, river or the sea will rarely provide a completely solid footing, and there may well be other obstacles and hazards underwater that you cannot see.
- Do expect a current
Anyone who has swum in a lake or the sea will know just how hard it is to swim in a straight line. Rip currents, waves and tides will move you in different directions in the water. Always check the tidal activity before you go in so you know what to expect. Also, breathe away from waves and keep an eye on the shoreline. You should always swim parallel to the shore in standing depth water.
- Once you’ve cooled down, dry off
Outdoor swimming is cold! And that’s perfect if you want to cool down on a hot day. But until you’re in the water, you don’t know quite how cold it is, so make sure you enter the water slowly and safely rather than jumping in. Once you have cooled off and your body temperature has reduced, it’s time to get out of the water. Do not stay in cold water once your body is starting to shiver.
- Don’t go out on your own
You aren’t allowed to swim in a pool without supervision, so don’t go swimming outdoors without anyone around. The safest and best places to go swimming outdoors will have lifeguards on duty, and you will be much safer swimming with friends than on your own.
- Stay calm and signal
If you do get into difficulty swimming outside, stay calm and signal to shore for help. Fight the instinct to swim harder and against the water. Click here for more swimming survival skills.
- Dial 999 to help others
If you see someone else in trouble in deep or rough water, do not go into the water to help them. Too many people drown trying to save other people or their pets. Instead, call 999 or alert a lifeguard immediately. Look for something that floats which you can throw to them.
Swim Englands website: Swim England