It’s that time of year again… open water swimming season is here! Whether you’re a first timer or seasoned pro, it’s important to be prepared when entering open water, so here’s all you need to know to enjoy the water safely.  

Seven tips to enjoy water safely whilst swimming outdoors...
  1. Download our two-week ‘Sponge to Plunge’ home plan to acclimatise and reduce the impact of cold-water exposure. Start small and gradually build up your time in the water 
  2. Carefully plan your day, thinking about the water temperature, weather and venue. The air temperature and wind direction can have a big impact on how quickly you cool 
  3. Never swim alone - always go with friends or join a community group
  4. Ideally, choose a recognised venue, and preferably one that is lifeguarded, especially if you are a beginner. Recognised venues should record both air and water temperatures and share details about their water quality 
  5. Make sure you know where to get in and out of the water and always plan your exit prior to getting in 
  6. Take time to read all signage and consider any currents, tidal flow and wind direction

  7. Make sure you have the right clothing and equipment and remember to stay hydrated. Incidents of cramp can increase both in cooler water and as result of dehydration

Everyone and every swim is different, so it’s important to always be prepared and listen to your body.  

Having the right equipment can make all the difference to your overall enjoyment and experience – but it is also essential for keeping you safe. Check off our list below for the perfect open water swimming starter pack: 

Open water swimming starter pack:

  • Brightly coloured swim hat – to make sure you are visible in the water and prevent heat loss  
  • Tow float – an essential bit of kit for visibility in the water, buoyancy support if you need a breather, and holding your phone in case of an emergency 
  • Wetsuit - both to reduce the impact of cold-water exposure and help with buoyancy 
  • Swim boots/socks and gloves - to keep your extremities warm. These are perfect for open water beginners and those who prefer to swim without a wetsuit but still need some warmth 
  • Warm spare clothes – plus an RLSS UK Oodie or Dryrobe for the ultimate cosiness.  
  • A flask of hot drink and plenty of snacks – to refuel after an epic open water swim. Even on a summer's day within the UK, our open waters can be chilly and your core temperature will continue to cool for up to 30 mins after you exit the water. 

You can visit the RLSS UK Shop to get geared up for a safe and enjoyable open water swimming season. 100% profits go back into RLSS UK, enabling us to continue educating people across the UK and Ireland in water safety, because drowning is preventable.  

Shop Wetsuits
Shop Tow Floats

Remember: if you ever feel ill after swimming in open water, make the venue aware and seek medical help, if symptoms persist