6 tips for beginner open water outdoor swimmers

Two swimmers wearing swim suits and caps preparing to swim at the beach

Ready to take the plunge?

  • If you’re inspired to get more than your feet wet, here are some tips to get you started and keep you safe:
  • You don’t need to be an experienced swimmer to enjoy outdoor swimming. You can just go for a dip, if you like.
  • If you’re swimming out of your depth, go with a group or ask someone on the beach to watch you.
  • Wear a bright swim cap to increase your visibility in the water, and consider using a tow float.
  • Swim between the flags where possible. Learn how to identify a rip but also what to do if you get caught in one. Visit watersafety.org.nz.
  • Find out if there’s an outdoor swimming group in your area or go down to your nearest beach or lake and see for yourself.
  • If you’re interested in winter swimming or cold-water swimming, discuss this with your GP first and take someone with you when you swim. Make sure you wear warm clothing right until you get into the water. Once you’re in the water, wearing a wetsuit can help. When entering cold water in winter, acclimatise slowly by splashing water over your head and face first. Never jump or dive straight into the water as this can cause your body to go into shock (and not in a good way). Stay within your depth and remain close to safe entry and exit points. After your swim, get warm and dry straight away. Visit outdoorswimmingsociety.com for more information on acclimatising your body to cold water.

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