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Ways to reduce the risk

Before you enter the water:

  • Check the weather forecast and any other conditions.
  • Check the place that you want to swim is safe from physical hazards - stay away from farming or industrial areas.
  • Check the water quality where possible.
  • Avoid swimming after heavy rainfall as this may make the water quality worse.
  • Avoid swimming where an algal bloom is present.
  • Check for any warning signs about the water and follow the advice given.
  • Cover any cuts and grazes with waterproof plasters
  • Stay out of the water if you have had alcohol or taken drugs
  • Avoid swimming alone - if you have to, make sure you have told someone where you are going.
  • Plan how you will get into and out of water.
  • Don’t jump or dive if you do not know if it is safe.
  • Wear a wetsuit suitable for the water temperature and take plenty of warm clothes (including hat and gloves) for after your swim.
  • Know what to do if you accidentally fall into cold water
  • Know what to do if you are stung by a jelly fish, weever fish or other creatures

When you are in contact with the water:

  • Try not to swallow the water as you swim.
  • If you get into trouble in the water, try to relax, stay calm and float to live.
  • Keep a close eye on children, even those who can swim, and stay within arm’s length of them.
  • Be aware of other activities that are going on around you in the water.


After your contact with the water:

  • Dress quickly when you finish your swim to get warm. A warm, non-alcoholic drink will also help you warm up.
  • Clean any wounds as soon as possible after leaving the water.
  • In general, whenever you have been contact with the sea, river, lake or any other open water, it is a good idea to wash your hands before eating and to wash your body with clean, fresh water as soon as possible.
  • If you do feel unwell after having contact with water seek medical advice as soon as possible.