How to stay safe whilst swimming in open water

  • Getting Started

When swimming in open water you need to be aware of what to do before, during and after to make sure you stay safe and enjoy yourself.

Here’s our top tips for staying safe whilst open water swimming:


  • Does your equipment fit? Is it in good condition? Make sure your goggles don’t leak and you’re comfortable in your kit before getting in the water. If it’s cold, think about wearing two swim caps.
  • Don’t eat big, but top up with light snacks and drinks before the start. Stick to the routine you’ve been using during your training.
  • Make sure to stretch and loosen up your shoulders, neck, arms and hips ready to get into the water.
  • Wear warm clothes for as long as possible before entering the water. If it’s hot, keep your wetsuit unzipped and stay in the shade until you enter the water.
  • Ensure all open cuts/grazes are covered with waterproof plasters to avoid infection.


  • Take the time to acclimatise yourself to the water temperature on the day.
  • Take note of your surroundings and the course before the start.
  • Keep your mouth closed and try to avoid swallowing the water.
  • Don’t be afraid to pause and tread water for a break.
  • Ensure you always follow the marker buoys for the course.
  • Swim right up to the swim exit and expect to have wobbly legs when you leave the water.


  • Allow yourself time to regain your balance.
  • Wash your hands and face before handling food using hand sanitiser where possible.
  • Eat and hydrate as soon as you can to replenish the sweat lost and energy used in the swim.
  • Wash your wetsuit and swimming costume thoroughly afterwards with clean water to remove any bacteria and clean the sweat out.

What next?

Need more open water tips? Read our Getting Started in Open Water guide here. Or if you feel ready to take on your first open water swim, find your local Beyond Swim venue here.

Discount every time you swim

The Beyond Swim pass allows you to get the best possible experience from open water swimming. Simply select your chosen Beyond Swim venue and you will receive a 20% discount off the venues PAYG swim price, every time you swim.