We bet that lake by your house looks awfully inviting during the summer heat and maybe a little bit tempting on a chilly winter’s day as well.
While a lake might seem like a perfect place to go for a leisurely swim, they do pose some dangers that you need to be aware of.
If you are in the UK, chances of having a croc nibbling at your toes are practically zero, but large bodies of water like lakes have many secrets hidden from the human eye.
Of course, the safest thing you can do is swim at an accredited swim location like the Beyond Swim venues, where you’ll have the support of fully trained experts, a community of swimming enthusiasts, and all the waters are safe to swim in.
Buttttt…if you want to go somewhere else…let’s take a dip, rather than a dive, into the safety you need to know when it comes to lake swimming.
You can never be too prepared when out and about in the open waters – if you want to make sure your safety knowledge is tip top, you can take a first aid course with the British Red Cross so you know how to respond in a water-related emergency.
1. Don’t Jump or Dive
On the topic of diving, we’ll kick our first tip off with that.
As appealing as it might be to show off your diving skills like Tom Daley taking on the Olympics, diving headfirst (or any part of your body first) into an open body of water is not advised. Especially in lakes.
Well, where’s the fun in that, you ask?
The fun is avoiding a trip to A & E because you’ve hit your noggin on something unsuspecting lurking in the water.
While the UK is packed with gorgeous lakes far and wide, just look at the Lake District for starters, most lakes also have a lot of debris, rocks, boulders, and sometimes, waste.
Many lakes have rock bases that are uneven and sharp – and in lesser maintained spaces, it’s not uncommon to find old junk that has been abandoned.
Jumping straight into these things could leave you in a right pickle that likely won’t have a good outcome.
Instead, cautiously enter from the shallow end of the lake first and always remain vigilant of all water areas.
It’s also wise to wear swimming footwear to protect those toes from any uneven surfaces.
While you won’t encounter a croc, you might come up against a mardy swan – so also stay well away from the wildlife.
2. Be sure you have competent swimming ability
This one goes without saying, but if you’re not a confident swimmer, avoid lakes at all costs.
Swimming in a lake isn’t like swimming in a pool – even though many consider lakes natures attempt at one.
Flotation devices such as life vests or arm bands aren’t going to cut it too.
By all means, take yourself for a paddle at the shore of the lake when supervised by other strong swimmers, but it’s best to avoid getting in the water altogether.
3. Be cautious of currents and waves
This is because, much like coastal water, the currents in lakes can cause waves and disruption at any given moment.
You might be enjoying a little splash when a wave decides to choose violence and knock you into a deeper part of the lake.
If you can’t swim, you will struggle to combat the current of the water without panicking or stressing out your body.
If you choose to take a slight dip, wear safety equipment either way and remain as close to the shore as possible.
For competent swimmers, again, it is a case of never swimming alone and ensuring you’re aware of any predicted weather changes while you’re out.
4. Lakes are susceptible to bacteria and water pollution
Just like it’s not a super brilliant idea to guzzle on the water from the lake, swimming in it isn’t always the safest thing for your body.
There are lots of natural bacteria present in open water that can be bad news if you have cuts or wounds. Some of which can cause infections that can be life-threatening.
To avoid these nasty infections, consider not dipping your head beneath the water or disturbing sediments on the lakebed .
A nose clip, proper protective clothing and water shoes are great ways to protect your body, inside and out.
And don’t get in a lake if you have any healing wounds because then you’re asking for trouble.
Pay attention to signs posted around the water – if it says don’t swim, it’s there for a reason!
Today’s Lake Swimming Lesson:
So let’s recap what we’ve just been through…
- Don’t dive in even if the water looks deep
- If you don’t feel confident at swimming, don’t get in
- Don’t let those waves take you by surprise
- Lakes may look pretty, but there can be some unpretty things in them
If you decide to swim somewhere that is not accredited or doesn’t have the correct facilities and supervision, you must be aware of your risks.
The tips we have provided are just that, tips. There are oodles of things to consider, so always keep yourself educated and up to date with the latest safety tips.
Our Beyond Swim Pass, Blog, and social media will help you do just that!
Take another dip and “Check Out That Incredible Body…of River Water’s Safety Tips.”