Water Safety

The highest standards of safety are essential in any sort of outdoor or open water swimming.  Every year around 400 people drown in the UK. Scottish Swimming take safety very seriously at all events and only advise open water swimming in safe and supervised venues.

Scottish Swimming’s safety guidance applies both to open water training and to competition.  All venues and events must be Risk Assessed and Safe Operating Procedures developed based on that, with the event supervised by a Trained and Competent Person.

The Trained and Competent Person should be

Trained”: In nearly all cases this will be a qualified Safety Officer for Competitions, or a qualified Safety Rep for training or single club events, where the numbers are smaller and the ability of the athletes better known.

Competent”: Able within the required task and also aware of the limits of their ability and not over-stretching these limits.

Registration and Licensing

Scottish Swimming requires that all training in open water which is provided at club, district and national level must be registered. Register your open water training.

Competitions involving more than one club must be licensed. The license form and guidance for organising competitions are on the Important Documents page.

Guidance and Training

Guidance for organisations such as clubs and districts on safely running open water training, events and risk assessments can be found on this page. There are also editable templates you can use to create your Risk Assessment, Normal Operating Procedures and Emergency Action Plan.  The Open Water Committee will be running training sessions and webinars available on our Courses Calendar.

The Open Water Committee also runs training for Safety Reps and Safety Officers. More information is given in the Technical Officials section of the site.

We also have useful links on this page to partners we work with on water safety including the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), the Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS) and Open Water Rescue.


Please find a list of safety and events guidance documents in the downloads section on this page.

Useful Links

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