With the weather heating up this weekend, you might fancy venturing out into a lake or the sea to cool off.

The physical and mental benefits have made it a popular activity among outdoor enthusiasts who seek a unique and refreshing way to engage with nature. 

Lee Heard, Charity Director at the Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK), has now offered tips on staying safe whilst wild swimming this summer.

The dangers of wild swimming:

Although wild swimming is a fun experience, it is really important to stay safe when swimming in the open water.

If you’re wondering how to stay safe while wild swimming, Lee Heard advises: “If swimmers are aware of the potential risks and dangers then this enables them to do a risk assessment before entering the water.

“We always recommend going swimming with a friend and wearing appropriate clothing such as a wetsuit, a tow float and a brightly coloured swimming hat."

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Some of the risks Lee suggests considering include:

  • The shock of cold water can make swimming difficult and make it more difficult to get out of the water
  • A lack of safety equipment can make a rescue more difficult
  • The depth of the water can be unpredictable
  • Underwater objects and hazards which may not be visible
  • Obstacles or other people in the water
  • Strong currents which can rapidly sweep people away
  • Uneven banks and riverbeds
  • Water quality, e.g., toxic algal blooms and industrial/agricultural pollution

"It’s vital to also ensure that when you get out you have appropriate clothing to keep you warm after the swim,” Heard added.