Wild Swimming Brothers - How do you make sure an open water location is safe?

Middle Brother Calum and Younger Brother Jack, ambassadors for this year’s Open Water Swimathon have some excellent advice ahead of the big day. The Wild Swimming Brothers are keen advocates for open water swimming, and have swum in rivers, tarns and lakes across the world.  

We encourage people do get out and about as much as possible so we get asked about safety a lot. The first thing, pretty obviously, is to use common sense. Don’t swim somewhere it says not to, if there are red flags up they’re there for a reason – also it might be a conservation area for wildlife or have hidden currents.


It’s always a good idea to use local knowledge, the locals, wherever you are, will know about tides, currents, temperatures and good entry points. The open water swimming community is a pretty open one, so don’t be afraid to ask questions. Wherever you live, or are swimming, there’ll most likely be a group online which can give advice.


Entry points are very important, ideally you want a smooth, gradual slope to ease you in rather than a sudden change in depth. Hopefully it’s not somewhere too sharp or uncomfortable under foot.


It’s also really important to know where and how you’re getting out. Depending how far you’re swimming, you might be very tired by the time you finish so bear that in mind too.


It’s also important not to swim alone if you can avoid it. We’re lucky, as brothers, we swim together regularly, so try to find a friend or a colleague – even if they’re not a swimmer they can spot from the bank.