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Stay Safe - Stay Seen

Top tips to enjoy the open water safely this summer

  • 2 min read

Here are the Royal Life Saving Society's 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

  • Wetsuits aid exposure to cold water.
  • Wear a brightly coloured swimming hat.
  • Take a Tow float.
  • Warm dry clothes ready – Parka Robes are widely used by open water swimmers.
  • Warm drink.
  • Always wear a buoyancy aid or lifejacket for activities on the water or at the water’s edge (such as when boating or fishing).
  • Something to refuel.

Take a buddy with you

  • Someone from your household.
  • One other person from another household.
  • Follow the Government's advice on social distancing from gov.uk.
  • 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.
  • To understand basic self-survival and rescue, take our free online water safety toolkit by clicking here.

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 999 or 112).
  • 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.

Find out more about Drowning Prevention Week.

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