Vital safety advice for World Mental Health Day dippers offered by RNLI
- Credit: Mick Howes
A popular outdoor swimming group is set to meet for a cold water dip in Lowestoft this Sunday as a series of events are held across the country.
With World Mental Health Day events taking place on October 10, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is offering advice to help keep those participating in cold water dips safe and healthy.
As the last 18 months have seen an explosion of interest in outdoor swimming, heading into autumn and dropping sea temperatures increase the risk of cold water shock.
So the RNLI is stressing the importance to newcomers of being aware of the potential dangers of taking a dip in the sea at this time of year.
This Sunday morning the Sea for the Soul Lowestoft group will meet for a dip in the sea on Lowestoft South Beach - with RNLI Water Safety team members Nick Ayers and Liam Fayle-Parr on hand to give them advice.
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A regular North Sea dipper himself, Mr Fayle-Parr said: "The benefits to both physical and mental health of dipping are well documented, and World Mental Health day is a great time to celebrate that.
"During lockdown we saw a big increase in the number of people taking up dipping, and for many this is their first experience of the sea in the colder winter months.
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"So it’s the perfect time to get across some really vital safety tips that will hopefully make the experience all the more enjoyable, and keep everyone safe."
The duo also feature in a safety advice video for anyone considering taking up open water swimming this winter.
It’s aimed primarily at people who are new to dipping, rather than more experienced open water swimmers - although the advice applies to anyone entering cold water this winter.
Mr Ayers said: "The sea is a wonderful resource that we can all benefit from, but it can also be very dangerous if you are unaware or under-prepared.
"We’re asking everyone to be aware of what they can do to keep themselves and others safe, and to Respect the Water."
RNLI key safety advice
The RNLI’s key safety advice for taking a winter dip is:
Never swim alone.
Always check the weather forecast, including tide information and wave height.
If in doubt, stay out – there is always another day to go for a swim.
Take plenty of warm clothes for before and after your dip.
Wearing a wetsuit will help increase your buoyancy and reduce the chances of suffering cold water shock.
Acclimatise to the water temperature slowly – never jump straight in.
Stay in your depth and know your limits.
If you get into trouble remember FLOAT to live.
Take a mobile phone in a waterproof pouch.
If you or someone else is in trouble call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.