Jersey Coastguard offers safety advice for sea swimming this winter

From Jersey Coastguard
12th January 2021

With the increased popularity of sea swimming this winter, Jersey Coastguard is offering advice to keep swimmers safe, particularly for those new to the activity.

Jamie Dollimore, Manager of Jersey Coastguard and St Helier VTS, explains. “While the physical and mental benefits of sea swimming are well documented, for those not used to swimming in the cold temperatures, there is an enhanced risk of getting into difficulty. To help people enjoy the activity safely, we would like to offer the following tips.”

  • Be well prepared before entering the water, including checking the weather forecast and assessing sea conditions before entering
  • Don’t jump or run into the water. Instead, enter slowly, splashing cold water to help your body acclimatise
  • Beware of the risk of Cold Water Shock*; what this means and ways to limit the chance of suffering from it
  • It is always advisable to go in a group or with friends rather than swim alone. Make sure someone ashore knows where you are swimming and when you will be back
  • Depending on the type of activity, consider wearing a wetsuit and use a flotation device for safety
  • Have a means of calling for help, if required, such as a VHF radio or mobile phone in a waterproof case or bag
  • Have warm clothes and a hot drink ready for when you get out of the water

If you spot someone struggling from the shore, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard. Do not enter the water to rescue them. If possible, throw something that floats, such as a lifebuoy and keep a watch on the person/s in trouble.

Jersey Coastguard