Open water swimming – RNLI shares advice on how to stay safe when cold water swimming following a number of deaths

With the restrictions imposed to limit the spread of Covid-19, huge numbers of people took to the sea – and to rivers – to try open water swimming, often for the first time.

Many of those swimmers have continued to swim as the water has dropped in temperature and seas have become more challenging.

Although most open water swimmers enjoy themselves completely safely, the RNLI wants to stress the importance of taking extra care when sea swimming (or dipping) at this time of year.
In the south east, there have been incidents recently where swimmers have drowned at Cuckmere Haven and Hastings

Acclimatise to the water temperature slowly – never jump straight in

Stay in your depth and know your limits

If you get into trouble remember FLOAT to live by leaning back in the water, extending your arms and legs, and resisting the urge to thrash around to gain control of your breathing

Take a mobile phone in a waterproof pouch

If you or someone else is in trouble call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard