The RNLI has issued a warning against the craze of winter sea swimming which has boomed in lockdown

The RNLI has issued a warning against the craze of winter sea swimming which has boomed in lockdown - after a series of rescues and incidents around the coast.

Thursday, 10th December 2020, 12:25 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th December 2020, 12:28 pm

The closure of indoor pools has seen a massive increase in the number of people taking a dip in the sea - often in organised groups.

But the RNLI has now issued after several incidents involving thrill-seeking swimmers this year.

RNLI Head of Water Safety Gareth Morrison said: “There are well-documented physical and mental health benefits of swimming in the sea, but it can also be very dangerous if you are unaware or under-prepared.

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The closure of indoor pools has seen a massive increase in the number of people taking a dip in the sea

“Our volunteer lifeboat crews have dealt with a relatively high number of incidents since the end of the summer involving swimmers and dippers, so we are asking everyone to be aware of what they can do to keep themselves and others safe, and to respect the water.

The RNLI’s key safety advice for taking a winter dip is:

Never swim alone – always go with someone else to a familiar spot

Always check the weather forecast, including tide information and wave height

If in doubt, stay out – there is always another day to go for a swim

Take plenty of warm clothes for before and after your dip, along with a hot drink to help you warm up again when you come out of the water

Wearing a wetsuit will help increase your buoyancy and reduce the chances of suffering cold water shock

Be seen – wear a brightly coloured swim cap and consider using a tow float

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