How to ocean swim safely

Published Date
News Topic
Beaches & Lifeguards, Council

Living in Randwick City means being lucky enough to live near some of the world’s best beaches. Beach culture is alive and well in our City and along with surfing, sunbaking and boogie boarding, comes ocean swimming. Ocean swimming is becoming more and more popular, as many people look to it for not just fitness, but mental health and community.  No matter the time of year, it’s not unusual to find groups of men and women braving the early morning for a refreshing dip in the salty goodness that is one of our beaches.

Yet, ocean swimming comes certain risks and being out in the deep by yourself can mean it’s hard to attract help. Yet there are things you can do to keep yourself safe. Thinking of ocean swimming? Keep the following advice in mind.

Tell the lifeguards
The lifeguards are there to protect you. Before you dive in, let a lifeguard know your route so they can keep an eye out, especially if you’re swimming beyond the break.

Check the conditions
Another advantage to talking with the lifeguards before you dive in, is you can check in with them to learn about any rips you should avoid or whether they’ve seen any bluebottles or stingers drifting in. It should go without saying, if the beach is closed, you should reschedule your dip for another time.

Be colourful
It can be hard to see ocean swimmers if they’re not trying to make themselves stand out. Bright colourful rashies, bright caps and bright wetsuits are really helpful, especially if you’re swimming where paddle boarders, jet skis or other watercraft might be too.

Swim in a group
It’s always much easier to see the splashing of three or more people, rather than one or two. Stay together so you can keep an eye on each other and be seen more easily.

Keep guard
If you’re swimming outside the heads or long distances (for instance, some people swim from Coogee to Gordon’s Bay or Clovelly), and lifeguards won’t be able to easily see you, it’s smart to have a person in your group who is on the lookout. Either they can stay on shore and follow your route if they can see from land, or some swimming groups have a person accompany them on a kayak or paddle board. Carrying a phone in a waterproof case is a sensible idea, just in case someone gets a cramp, gets a head knock or another emergency occurs.

Take a buoy
Tying a buoy to your back while you swim will not only make you instantly more visible, but many buoys now come with in-built waterproof pockets where you can store your phone or belongings.

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