Enjoy Water Safely
Published 00:00 on 25 Jun 2021
As sailors, I'm sure we all have a healthy respect for the dangers in the waters we regard as our playground. But, with the recent tragic news of a teenage boy drowning in the river just downstream from the clubhouse, it's worth reminding ourselves of the risks. The temperature of river water at this time of year is somewhere between 15 and 20 degrees, it can come as a bit of a shock, especially if you hadn't intended getting in it. In fact, club rules say that it is not allowed to swim off the club frontage.
If you do choose to swim in the river (from a location other than the club obviously) the Enjoy Water Safely website has some good advice; here is an extract from it.
Enter the water slowly and let your body acclimatise, getting into cooler water too quickly can result in reduced blood flow to your limbs and an automatic increase in your breathing rate. Jumping in might seem like fun but you risk cold water shock and hitting objects under the surface by not getting in gradually.
Being visible is very important in open water when there are other water users. A brightly coloured hat is essential, and an inflatable tow float pulled behind you on a short leash gives a clear signal that there is a swimmer in the water. The tow float also has the added advantage of taking your weight if you need to rest during your swim.
Always start with short swims and increase the length of your swims over time as you become more experienced and tolerant of the conditions.
You should end your swim if you start to get cold or you feel yourself tiring, both signs that your core temperature could be dropping. Make sure you have some warm clothes waiting for you on shore as you will get colder once you exit the water as blood returns to your cooler extremities. A hot drink at the end of a swim is a great idea but avoid alcohol as this will cause you to lose heat.
Let's stay safe and have a good summer in or out of the water.
Last updated 20:43 on 16 April 2022