Open Water Checklist and Safety

You’ve got your new gear, your training has been a success and you are ready to go. But have you thought of everything? Here’s a checklist to help ensure a great swim.

Completing an open water swim - in any conditions - is a fantastic achievement and something to be proud of so you want to make sure your preparation is perfect.

You also want to ensure that you are as safe as you can be. So, here's our open water checklist:

  1. Do you know who you are swimming with? It’s very dangerous to swim open water on your own, no matter how confident a swimmer you are.
  2. Do you know what the weather conditions will be for your swim? Weather can play a huge part in the difficulty of open water swimming conditions.If you feel unsafe, don't get in.
  3. Do you know the route you are taking? Seems like a fairly simple one but you MUST plan your route carefully and make sure someone else knows where you are going as well.
  4. Do you know where you will enter and exit the water? Again, this may not be your biggest worry but you should plan where you are entering and exiting the water.
  5. Have you practised swimming in your wetsuit? Wearing a wetsuit does change your stroke slightly so it’s best to practice in a pool beforehand.
  6. Do you know the temperature of the water? Swimsuits keep you warm but the temperature of the water will still be much colder than your local pool. Diving straight in is not recommended as this could leave you short of breath. If you feel your body getting too cold, get out of the water.
  7. Do you know what you will eat before and after your swim? Diet is very important for competitive swimmers – you need your energy boost at the right time for optimum performance.
  8. Do you have goggles and lubricant? Swimming in lakes, rivers and seas means poor water visibility is poor to atrocious. Wear goggles. If you’re swimming in a group, tuck your goggle strap into your swim hat so they aren’t knocked out of position by accident. Lubricant isn’t essential but it’s a very useful for putting around the neck to avoid chaffing from your wetsuit.
  9. If you are swimming a loch, have you asked about weirs? Tide times are crucial to know when learning about the best times to swim in a loch. Be aware of rip currents and what to do if you become caught in one.

Visit the MySwimfit Open Water section for greater Checklist detail.