Open Water Safety Tips

Open water such as the sea and lakes can be an enjoyable and fun experience. A knowledge and understanding of the unforeseen and hidden hazards can increase this enjoyment.

The video clip at the top of this page explains some of the basics of open water safety, including the difference between open water and the pool, where it’s safe to swim, and when to swim in the HELP or huddle position.

What can affect the water safety at the sea or coast?

All of the following can be hazards when swimming in open water.

  • Water Bed Composition
  • Deep/Cold Water
  • Offshore Winds
  • Manmade Structures
  • Tides
  • Waves
  • Rip Currents
  • Sea Life

What water saftey steps should you follow?

The conditions at open water sites such as beaches and lakes change constantly. Take the following steps to ensure you have the safest possible day.

  1. Always look for warning and guidance signs.
  2. Check the tidal activity when at the coast.
  3. Take guidance from the lifeguards about the safest areas to enter the water, indicated by the red and yellow flags.
  4. Swim parallel with the shore (not away from it) in standing depth water.
  5. Get out of the water as soon as you start to feel cold.

Photo credit: Nathan Williams