Open Water Swimming Safety
Open water swimming is growing tremendously, and people are embracing it so much. People are finding open swimming to be so much fun and quiet and exciting sport. It is evident from the way thousands of people are participating in the activity throughout the world. Most swimmers are trying to break the monotony experienced in swimming pools, the limitations in terms of water depth and exhilarating features that are found in open water sources. However, with all these happening and people seeking to find more exciting sources of fun in the open water, there needs to be caution and people should ensure their safety. Considering that open water swims are quite different from swimming pools, lots of risks are associated with it that need to be taken seriously.
Similarly, open water swimming has several challenges, for instance, lane lines that help swimmers track their movement in swimming pools are not available in open waters. One has to raise his head to watch the movement, and this slows the speed and if care is not taken, it is easy to bump into obstacles not mentioning the dangerous creatures that might be found there. Open water swimming safety is mandatory for any person participating in the activities. Many cases of death have been reported at such places. Besides all the challenges and safety issues in open water, quitting the swim won’t be the best solution for you, it is advisable to employ personal security measures. Here are some basic Open water swimming safety measures to put in place when you are participating in a race. The safety measures are not limited to the ones below, but it is a good starting point especially for beginners.
The first Open water swimming safety measure is always to ensure that you are not swimming alone. This is an essential guideline. Always have a friend with you or swim when you see people around even if it is a lifeguard. Lifeguards will always perform their duties to prevent dangerous happenings for all people therefore when not accompanied by buddies, swim within the vicinity of lifeguards. I suppose you won’t SCUBA dive alone, you always have to do with while having a company of friends.
Always check the conditions of water before entering. Analyze first whether it is safe to swim at that moment. Check out for potential hazards like boat traffic that might not be immediately visible, quality of the water, any indications of warning signs like “No Swim” zone. Similarly, you should have a plan for emergencies that might arise. Contemplate on possibilities like, What if something happens to you or your friend? Is somebody else aware of where you are going? Will someone be watching over you from the shore, ready to take an immediate action whenever you need assistance? Generally, have everything planned and arranged for and eliminate uncertainties as much as possible.
Make sure you understand the lake or ocean currents as much as possible. It is not easy to comprehend the direction of current pulls at times until you get into the water. In such cases, always take extra caution and don’t rush into decisions whether to get into the water or not. Never fight the currents, it is with no doubt that you will lose. Whenever you are caught in a rip current- the strong water columns that rush out to the sea and can carry a swimmer a great distance from the shore – the best way about it is to ride the current until it dwindles. After that, you can swim out of it, parallel to the shore. Never panic while in this situation. The possibility is that you will make irrational judgment or decisions that can put you at risk. Stay calm and be aware of every happening.
Always be acquainted with the surroundings of the place you are swimming. Be cognizant of the various elements and features that can be a threat to your swim. Elements such as other swimmers, boats, marine life and the fluctuating weather conditions. Stay alert and whenever you feel threatened, just get out of the water.
Weather is one of the major determinants of swimming. Always watch it and keep yourself up to date with the weather forecast news before you go out swimming. In any event you hear thunder either before or during your swim, just get to the shore without hesitation and stay in a safe environment.
Open water swimming safety measures should not be employed by the swimmers alone, but coaches and directors should also be vigilant. Race directors should provide sufficient information to their people regarding preparation and the safety guidelines. They should also provide adequate facilities that can be used to keep the safety at par. Coaches should provide sufficient information, training, and skills. Above all, prepare the athletes thoroughly. The coaches, race official, lifeguards, and spectators should always be positioned in areas where they can keep an eye on every swimmer. Typically, it is prudent to have somebody keeping an eye on virtually anyone.
Kayakers, paddle boarder, and surf skiers must always scan the field and provide adequate communication alerting swimmers and officials in case of any emergencies or problems. Race volunteers can also be positioned to watch the swimmers.
Finally, swimmers should be the first ones to respond to the need of another fellow swimmer. During training and rehearsals, swimmers should be directed on how to call for help and the location of the helpers – boats, surf skis, kayaks, paddle boards or on shore.