• If you’re nervous about entering the sea, choose a sheltered bay as the sea is generally calmer or opt for a site where lifeguards are operating so that you know assistance is at hand if needed.
• Try to swim with someone else, and if this isn’t possible, you should tell someone where you’re swimming and when you expect to be back. That way, they can raise the alarm if you get into any trouble.
• Check the tide times before heading to the beach.
• Check your surroundings before entering the water. Swimming in natural environments means the environment constantly changes; from variations in depth to changes in the tidal pull, you must stay vigilant.
• Watch out for rip currents – although they can be hard to spot, you should be wary of channels of churning, choppy water or debris on the sea’s surface which could indicate a rip current.
• Consider using a buoyancy float and wear a brightly coloured swimming cap to ensure you are more visible.
• If you’re not acclimatised to cold water swimming, wear a wetsuit on cold days as cold water shock can be triggered in water that is below 15°C. Discover how to choose the right wetsuit in our guide.
• Don’t forget a towel and plenty of warm layers for when you get out. Bring along a flask of tea, coffee or hot chocolate for after too.