Staying safe in the sea

Sea swimming has seen a huge surge in popularity in the last 2 years. All along the coastline of NI you can usually spot swim groups with their colourful robes enjoying the physical and mental wellness benefits of a wild swim.

If you are a swimmer, especially during the cold winter months, it’s important to respect the sea, it can be cold, rough and challenging. 

The RNLI are highlighting the importance of being safe in the sea, and protecting your own life and the lives of others. 

They have issued a list safety tips for taking a winter swim or dip:

  • Be prepared – Check the weather forecast, including tide information and wave height. Take plenty of warm clothes for before and after your dip, along with a hot drink for when you come out of the water. Take a mobile phone in a waterproof pouch. Wearing a wetsuit will help increase your buoyancy and reduce the chances of suffering cold water shock
  • Never swim alone – always go with a buddy, if possible, to a familiar spot and tell someone when you plan to be back
  • Acclimatise slowly – never jump straight in as this can lead to cold water shock, walk in slowly and wait until your breathing is under control before swimming
  • Be seen – wear a brightly coloured swim cap and consider using a tow float
  • Stay in your depth - know your limits including how long to stay in the water and swim parallel to the shore
  • Float to live - If you get into trouble lean back in the water, extending your arms and legs, and resisting the urge to thrash around to gain control of your breathing
  • Call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard - if you get into difficulty or see someone else in trouble call for help immediately
  • If in doubt, stay out – there is always another day to go for a swim

For the latest RNLI safety advice on a range of activities visit: https://rnli.org/safety

Sea swimming at Portavoe beach

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