Open Water Swimming
Open Water or Wild Water Swimming is all the range around the world and who can blame people for loving it so much when you can be surrounded by the beautiful backdrop of Mexico, Canada, Italy or even the UK Countryside. Wild Water swimming isn’t exclusive to a certain area, I bet you could find an open water swimming spot just about anywhere you go.
What is wild or open water swimming?
The activity of swimming for pleasure in natural bodies of water typically rivers, lakes, ocean or waterfalls.
Why would I go?
Wild Water Swimming allows you to explore and be immersed in the beautiful surroundings of wherever you are. A number of Wild Water swimming adventures are also hidden gems such as Mexico’s Cenotes which offer leisurely swims in the heart of the peaceful tranquillity of nature, away from the hustle and bustle of tourist traps.
Wild Water Swimming Safety
1) Check the current
Before diving straight in to your chosen body of water, keep an eye out for any signage indicating strong currents and check the water’s flow first. A good tip is to throw a stick or branch into the water, if it floats faster than you could swim then do not enter the water as you won’t be able to beat the current.
2) Gauge the depth
A common mistake made by many is how they gauge the depth of the water. Looking in from the side isn’t going to give you an accurate measurement of the depth, sharp rocks can be hidden. Get into the water and test out the depth before you jump or dive in.
3) Don’t get too cold
Hypothermia is something to always keep in mind as it can come on fast. Outdoor swimming especially in the UK can be cold, it is advised to swim in a wetsuit rather than swimming trunks, bikini or a costume. If you start to feel tired or you begin to shiver then get out, warm up and put some dry clothes on.
4) Avoid swimming alone
Whether you are an Olympic swimmer or a trained lifeguard, the water is a dangerous and unpredictable place. Take a friend with you when wild swimming as this will maximise your safety, if going alone is your only option then wear clothing that is visible, take a buoyancy aid and make sure your area has been recorded to someone in case of emergency.
5) Cover open wounds
Frankly you never know what is in the wild water you are swimming in. Cover all open wounds with waterproof plasters or bandages, soon as you leave the water clean the area and replace the bandage.
6) Escape and Emergency Plans
Before entering the water come up with your emergency escape plan, should you get in trouble and need to get out of the water, identify the best and quickest way to do so. Be wary of riverbanks and rocks which may be slippery and hard to climb.
7) Take care of children
Young children need to be kept under supervision in the water at all times. Never leave them in the water alone and invest in a buoyancy aid although avoid inflatables as these can be easily blown or carried in drifts in the current.
Where can I go?
A useful website to have in your arsenal is www.wildswim.com. This is a worldwide crowd sourced swim map which showcases a variety of possibilities for you to go wild water swimming. These areas are labelled based on what type of water they are, as well as reviewed by members who have swam there before. Please note that not all rivers, lakes or bodies of water allow swimming and in some cases swimming is banned so be sure to keep an eye out for signage of this.
Wild Water Bucket List
The world’s largest underground river flows deep beneath Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula through a series of Cenotes; beautiful underwater sinkholes and caves created when limestone bedrock collapses and exposes the water below. Mexico’s Cenotes are a must visit and must have on your Wild Swimming Bucket List, although there are reportedly over 6000 across the country…
Sua Ocean Trench, Samoa
The iconic Sua Ocean Trench is a stunning attraction consisting of two giant holes joined via an ancient lava tube cave. One of these holes is without water however the other is filled approximately 30 metres deep with beautiful turquoise water which can be accessed via a ladder.
Millaa Millaa Falls, Atherthon Tablelands, Queensland, Australia
Following a trek through the beautiful lush green rainforest and sprawling flowering plants unearths an 18m waterfall known as Millaa Milliaa Falls. Beneath this enchanting waterfall is a deep plunge pool ideal for a cooling swim.
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