Safety is the number 1 priority.
Openwater swimming is a sport which inherently contains more variables than pool swimming. While many of these variables are dynamic (depending on venue) they (often) change in a predictable and/or regular manner. e.g. winds or currents that originated many kilometers away will affect the environment and not “tire”. This has a consequence when the wind or current encounters both movable and immovable objects. Winds or currents that originated in a cool environment will likely cool areas that they travel to whereas those that originated in warm environment will likely warm areas they travel to.
The main (regular) factor impacting Openwater is tides while other factors such as swell and wind affect both water temperature and air temperature.
Salinity and water temperature alter buoyancy which affects stroke efficiency (speed).
There is always a significant level of risk in water related activities, but there are practical ways to manage the risks at water sport events.
Ensuring responsible and safe practices, reducing the likelihood of an accident, minimizing the inherent risks of the water sport activity, reducing the possible consequences in the event of an accident, and knowing what resources are available are part and parcel of responsible openwater usage. Before venturing into a new environment spend time (at least 5-10 minutes) assessing and interpreting what is apparent in the environment, determine a Plan A AND determine a Plan B. If there is no Plan B then do not venture into the environment . It is your responsibility to apply your mind to mitigate the risks that are apparent.
At OpenwaterSwim events the following practices are standard
1. Displayed route map providing overview of area
2. Mandatory head-count of all participants intending to participate (we call this High-Five the Safety Team)
3. Early/self-withdrawals are obliged to check-out at the admin desk
4. Sequence carding all finishers and reconciling this to the head-count (2)
5. Any discrepancy between Start and Finish count is treated as a SERIOUS matter as this may result in a SEARCH and/or RESCUE being launched.
(we request you provide a contact number so before a Search is launched we can check if perhaps you missed checking out. Repeat offenders will be asked not to return)
Some practical tips..
Swim with at least 2 other buddies.
Agree a plan A and plan B.
Carry a swim whistle to attract attention.
Wear a bright silicon swimcap
Plan a down-current/down-stream/down-swell swim (do not fight Mother Nature .. she does not tire)
Tell others where you are going and your expected return time.
Spend time improving your efficiency and technique – this will enable you to have more fun for longer
Ask questions of more experienced swimmers – seeking first to understand (you have 2 ears and 1 mouth for a reason)
We look forward to welcoming new participants to our sport. Be warned its life-changing 😉
Sea u soon