How Beyond Swim’s Cold Water Guidance can support you

  • Guidance

Open water swimming can be a year-round activity that is as safe, enjoyable and beneficial to participants in January as it is in July, with Beyond Swim’s Cold Water Guidance now available to accredited venues.

The guidance has been produced by Triathlon England, University of Portsmouth, Swim Safety Ltd, RLSS UK, Swim England and Ullswater Swim Place and gives advice and considerations for venues to operate cold water swimming, whether for the first time or to bolster their current activities.

Written within the background of a scientific understanding of what happens to a swimmer when immersed in cold water, the guidance explains the processes of cold shock and the physiological responses that take place within the body, helping to give venues a broader awareness of risks associated with cold water swimming.

Through the release of this guidance, Beyond Swim accredited venues will have a framework of safety protocols and considerations to follow that have been defined as a result of the understanding of the physiological impacts of cold water immersion.

Beyond Swim accreditation is a process to support venues in their safety documentation and operations, as well as provide a mark of trust for swimmers to find venues in which to swim.

Open water swimming at any time of year can be incredibly exhilarating and rewarding when practised safely. The best way to do that is to only swim at accredited venues – you can find your nearest Beyond Swim accredited venue here.

Beyond Swim launched their Cold Water Swimming Guidance at an open water experience with Prof. Greg Whyte for British Triathlon members at Divers Cove on 25 October 2022 in Godstone, Surrey. Photo Credit: Sam Mellish/Beyond Swim.

As well as covering what happens within the body, the guidance also covers the practical ways in which venues and their swimmers can be best prepared, and a range of protocols and actions for venues delivering cold water swimming.

As part of this is advice around the makeup, kit and processes of a venue’s water safety team, as well as support on mitigating risks such as cold shock, after drop and hypothermia.

Whether that’s the kit and equipment swimmers bring, understanding their physical capabilities in the cold water, or in rewarming after the swim, the guidance provides evidence-based considerations for venues and their swimmers.

For more information about how to become an accredited venue and to access the new Cold Water Swimming Guidance, please email