OSS Top 10 Tips for safe summer swimming

10 Simple tips for a Summer of Safe Swimming

Spring is upon us, the water is warming up, and a busy summer like no other is on its way. With a larger number of swimmers taking to the water outside for the first time these simple tips for staying safe this summer whilst swimming are a great place to start. 

For more advanced information see OSS Intermediate Tips for Safe Swimming, and the Survive section of the website. For information on being a responsible swimming read The Outdoor Swimmer’s Code and the Swim Responsibility statement.  

1. SPOT THE DANGERS: Ask locals for advice, and read local warning and guidance signs before heading into water at a new spot. Find your exit point before entering the water. Beware of underwater hazards and currents.

2. SWIM SOBER: Alcohol and drugs impair  judgement, swimming ability and body temperature. Don’t drink or take drugs before swimming, even in small quantities.

3. SWIM WITH OTHERS: Consider taking someone with you when you go into water, especially if you’ve not swum alone before. If something goes wrong they will be able to get help.

4. INCREASE YOUR EXPOSURE TO OPEN WATER GRADUALLY: Enter the water slowly, getting used to the temperature. Cold water shock ‘gasp reflex’ can be triggered in water below 15 °c.

5. AVOID JUMPING IN: Before jumping in check for depth and hazards, and get used to the water temperature. If in doubt about the depth, don’t jump.

6. WATCH CHILDREN AT ALL TIMES: Find a safe area for children to play in and watch them all the time. It’s easy for them to fall and get into difficulty, and even shallow water can cause problems.

7. SWIM AT LIFEGUARDED BEACHES: If new to swimming outdoors or inexperienced at long distance swimming, stick to lifeguarded beaches and obey the flags. If you get into trouble, signal for help by raising an arm or leg. Beware of waves, tides, and currents, which will be affected by wind and weather conditions – if you are unsure of these conditions, stick to a lifeguarded beach at all times.

8. RECOGNISE THE SIGNS OF DROWNING: People who are drowning are usually silent. Call for help – dial 112 or 999 and ask for the Coastguard or ask for the Fire and Rescue service when at any inland waterside location. Don’t put yourself at risk trying to save a swimmer in difficulty. Find something buoyant you can throw to help keep them above the water.

9. LEARN HOW TO SPOT A RIP TIDE: If you get caught in a rip, stay calm. Swim parallel to the shore until free of the rip and then head for shore. If you can stand, wade, don’t swim. Raise your arm or leg and call for help.

10. REMEMBER THE SAFE SWIMMERS CODE:

SPOT the dangers

ADVICE – follow safety advice and read signs

FRIEND – swim with others

EMERGENCY – call for help, recognise the signs of someone in trouble

REDUCING ACCIDENTAL DEATHS:

  • If you get into trouble, FLOAT TO LIVE is the key message of the RNLI Respect The Water campaign aimed at reducing drowning on the coast.
  • #bewateraware: young adult drinkers, runners and walkers and those away from home are three groups most likely to die as a result of accidental drowning (around 315 drown a year in Britain). The National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) are seeking to reduce this number with the #bewateraware campaign. The advise for anyone accidentally falling into water is turn onto their back and float, while shouting for someone to ring 999 and ask for Fire & Rescue service.

 

Philippe Murray Piet

INCREASING CHILDREN’S ABILITY IN WATER:

Beyond learning to swim, there is learning to swim outdoors:

For more advanced information see OSS Intermediate Tips for Safe Swimming, and the Survive section of the website. For information on being a responsible swimming read The Outdoor Swimmer’s Code and the Swim Responsibility statement.