How to participate in open water and wild swimming safely?


Unfortunately it’s becoming more and more evident that our water ways are not only unpleasant but in some areas of the country unsafe.

Posted by Chris Mullins on 01/06/2023


We run Longside Lake Watersports in Surrey and thrive to offer the best water conditions for our swimmers. Having combated issues when we first took on a disused lake, and brought it to a clear and beautiful watersports lake. We thought we would use our experience to give you a guide to keep safe.

Where to Swim?

Obviously, the first choice for a completely safe swim would be a well-organised and managed swimming session, these centres are required to water test and provide adequate safety cover.

However, wild swimming offers that extra connection to nature and gives you an extra buzz. Here are a few quick tips;

  1. Use an app to track the local sewage disposal sites and how often they pump into your local spot. We would recommend surfers against sewage or BBC has a full detailed on-land map.
  2. Don’t swim within 48 hours as a minimum of a sewage discharge.
  3. Research some self-testing kits, readily available and only take a few minutes.
  4. Thoroughly wash and sanitise both yourself and your equipment straight after exiting the water.

How to Swim Safely?

Feeling safe is key to any time you spend in and around the water.

Firstly, we would highly recommend using a coach or guide for your first time at a new spot. They will offer advice on water conditions such as currents and wind that can affect your safety.

Secondly, always swim in an organised group making sure your only enter rivers or the sea at a designated entry point. These often allow you to enter in the calmest water avoiding high currents and rip tides.

Lastly, always wear a coloured hat and tow float. This is not only to help you self-rescue but essential for other water users to see you.

If you require any further advice or have more questions, please contact us, as we have a great coaching team here who can help give you the essential skills to keep safe while swimming.