wild & outdoor swim safety

heat exhausion while swimming - what to look out for

Heat exhaustion while swimming can creep up on you, what to look out for and how to treat it are key in ensuring feeling a bit ropey doesn't deteriorate into heat stroke. Swimming can mask some of the signs, so we need to be body-aware and check in with ourselves whilst swimming on a hot day in relatively warm water. Whether swimming skins or in a wetsuit there are some actions you can take.

safe solo or socially distanced outdoor swimming

Swimming solo or in just a pair may seem pretty alien to those used to larger groups, but it's really doable with some simple precautions. Here we look at the kit and the steps we can take to make our swim as safe as possible.

Is it ok to swim in a river after heavy rain?

Swimming in a river after rain is something I'd always warn against, because run-off from fields and water from over-flowing drains end up in our waterways. Why then didn't I heed my own advice? What happened? How did I get on swimming in the River Stour near Wimborne?

Is it ok to swim with a cold?

Having a cold this week, and being addicted to outdoor swimming, I decided to find out if it is ok to swim with a cold. After looking into it, I was interested to find out if it made me feel better or worse. Colds make you feel really rough, swimming makes me feel on top of the world - so what would happen if I swam with a cold?

*No swimmer was harmed in the making of this video.

Outdoor Swimming: Emergency Contact

What should you expect of your emergency contact when you get in the water? What information should you tell them about your swim or trip? Do they understand their role and the actions they need to take if you overrun? I ran an experiment on what would happen if I used an emergency contact but didn't ask them, find out how that turned out.

Thank you to Kristy and LP who are usually my emergency contacts xxxx

Cramp when swimming: what to do?

Cramp when swimming can be a frightening experience. I look at how to release and soothe it in the water and a couple of strategies to reduce the recurrence.

open water swimming: acclimatisation

Swimming in open water is different from pool swimming in a number of ways, not least in the change in temperature. To enjoy your swim safely, it's important to acclimatise safely and gently build up your time in the water. In this video I discuss how to get in; how to stay in; how you'll know when you should get out and what happens if you stay in too long. I also include a couple of tips about how to cope with the dreaded ice cream head and how to maintain acclimatisation, once you've started.

how to treat jellyfish stings

Outdoor swimming often involves sharing the water with locals. In some cases, the locals are jellyfish. In the UK, they are beautiful and fairly harmless, but the sting from some can pack a punch. Here I take a look at what to do if you're unlucky enough to get stung by one.

Open water swimming: how to use FREE RYA SafeTrx app (2019)

The RYA SafeTrx app is aimed at safe boating, but here I show you how to set it up to improve swimmer safety. We work through setting up a sail plan for an outdoor swimmer. The app lets an emergency contact follow your track and alerts them if you are overdue. We also go through the actions your emergency contact should take to ensure your safety.

Open water swimming when panic strikes

You are not alone! Many swimmers experience a panic attack in open water at one time or another. Here I consider who does it affect? What are the triggers? Why do we have panic attacks when swimming in open water? What are the symptoms of a panic attack? What to do if panic strikes?

Panic attacks can be triggered by many things such as feeling vertigo in deep clear water, the intense cold of the water, a sudden feeling of isolation and just about anything else that you can think of. The important thing is to recognise a panic attack for what it is and to take steps to regain control.

Outdoor swimming: how to avoid cold shock

Acclimatising before swimming is a key factor in staying safe when I swim outdoors. Lots of people ask how I actually get in when the water is cold. This is a look at getting wet and how cold it feels. Watch to the end for a spiteful slap about personal grooming from Mother Nature!

How to swim safely on your own

I swim alone often. Here I share how I swim safely on my own. I discuss choice of location, a strategy for saving energy, being self -sufficient, maximising visibility and use of a tracking app.

tips for a safe winter swim

Winter swimming is all about managing risk, here we go for a swim and I explain the steps I take for a safe winter swim. Outdoor swimming is one of my favourite ways of mentally resetting. Feeling part of the natural world, but at the same time being aware and taking responsibility for my own safety.

Outdoor swimming: how long should I stay in?

As they start outdoor swimming, I often hear people asking, how long should I stay in? Although it’s comforting to ask for a rule of thumb, everyone is different and there are many factors which influence our cold water tolerance. Join me on a swim as I chat about some pointers to bear in mind.

What should swimmers know about the tide?

There is a high tide about every 12 hours 25 minutes in the UK, but what should swimmers know about the tide? We talk springs, neaps, current and where to find out tidal information for your swim spot.

when will there be enough tide (to swim or launch)?

How can you tell if there will be enough tide to swim or launch? Let's talk tidal heights, drying heights and how to be sure there'll be enough tide for us. Understanding tide heights and times are a key component to avoiding disappointment on a trip to the beach for a swim or watersports.

what swimmers should know about rivers (lowland)?

Walking, and then swimming, through what swimmers should know about lowland rivers. First I walk upstream from the get out identifying hazards such as strainers, weirs, pinch points and turbulent water. I explain eddies and demonstrate how to ferry glide to cross the river or avoid a hazard downstream. Then I swim the section I've just scouted. Come and join me.

what makes swimming with a buddy safer?

People often say to not swim alone, but what makes swimming with a buddy safer? The tacit agreement of being swim buddies is that we'll be there in case anything happens. But what could happen? What could we do to help? What information should we share before getting in the water?

safety considerations for swimming in an estuary

There's a fair bit of planning that I do before a swim, join us on our mini-adventure as I share what safety considerations we take for swimming in an estuary. We swim through marshes, under bridges, and past moored yachts and container ships.

what's the risk of swimming in blue green algae?

Blue green algae appears mostly in the summer after a hot, dry period, but what's the risk of swimming in it? Cyanbacteria is only visible when it blooms, it can appear in different places in a body of water, but is often wind-blown to the edges of a body of water.

How I decide if a swim spot is safe for me?

Each swimmer and location is different, but this is how I decide if a swim spot is safe for me. Weather, water flow, hazards, traffic, entry and exit points, where to get changed and water quality are key considerations for every swim.

How cold is the water?

Wondering 'how cold is the water?' is a constant question we're asked, and ask each other. We could be said to be obsessed with the temperature, but what relevance does it have to our swimming, how do we find out and should we share the info? Let's take a look at cold shock, measuring and some thoughts on what to do with our findings.

Filmed at Lepe Beach, Hampshire