Friday, June 12, 2020

Updated statement on Open Water Swimming and Guidance Document

Two weeks ago we issued a statement on outdoor swimming, which was made in response to the Scottish Government’s announcement around entering the first phase of a route map out of lockdown. Scottish Swimming’s position on open water swimming has not changed and we continue to work closely with the Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS), Triathlon Scotland, Swim England and Swim Wales; however today we are able to publish further guidance and safety advice relating to this activity.

We acknowledge that some have taken part in outdoor swimming and our advice to everyone is to recognise the following:

  • If you are not used to swimming in open water, we strongly urge you NOT to start now
  • Physical distancing guidelines still apply and we NEVER advise taking part in open water swimming alone
  • Open water sites including beaches and lochs are not currently supervised. There is no one to help you if you get in trouble and emergency services may not be able to get to you in time
  • Clubs should not be encouraging or providing training sessions even for seasoned open water swimmers
  • Levels of blue algae will not have been monitored in recent weeks so there is risk of illness
  • While the weather has been good over the past few weeks, the temperature of the water remains cold. Cold water shock is real and wetsuits do not prevent it
  • Scottish Government advice states that you can only meet with members of ONE other household in a maximum group of eight
  • You can only travel to venues within a 5 mile radius and these should be safe and fit with our recommended guidance
  • We must continue to support our frontline key workers by not making any unnecessary trips to pursue outdoor activities 

Open Water Infographic Final (1)

We of course want to get back to some sort of normality, and while we welcome the news about the easing of some restrictions, we know that this has only been possible through the default message: that we should stay at home as much as possible for the time being, and not put any undue risk and pressure on the NHS and Emergency Services.

The guidance we have published in collaboration with Triathlon Scotland and our Home Country partners can be found HERE.

Further detailed guidance will be issued to our clubs and members.