Swimming is often a fun and important part of a holiday – and a great way to enjoy some exercise, but remember that local rules, flag systems, beach currents and where swimming may be permitted are different and vary from country to country.
There are lots of things to consider before swimming on holiday, from whether your swimming technique is up to scratch to beach safety. Here are our tops tips for safe swimming which is applicable throughout the year, wherever you choose to travel on your holidays.
1. Make the most of your time in the water
Brush up on your swimming skills before you go away.
If you’ve got kids then get in the water with them – it’s easier to keep an eye on them as well as good fun – remember children should always be supervised in or near water.
2. Be aware of your surroundings
Always follow pool rules, pool safety signs and local signs. Check warning flags and signage on the beach.
Check the pool layout to know where the deep and shallow ends are, especially before jumping or diving in.
Beware of dangerous beach currents: these can be very powerful. Ask locally if there are any known dangerous currents or dangers caused by the tides and avoid swimming in these areas. Learn how to spot a riptide.
Beware of underwater hazards, such as reefs, rocks, sudden changes in depth and marine life.
Only dive where it is permitted to do so, and don’t dive or jump from rocks, piers, breakwaters, poolside furniture or decorative pool features.
3. Follow safety advice
Speak to reps, hoteliers or local people about pools and local beaches and beach currents.
Read the pool safety rules before you swim and remember, not all holiday accommodations employ lifeguards.
Never swim where a sign says not to e.g. in zoned areas for jet boats or jet skis.
4. Look out for others
Never swim alone, ‘buddy up’ with others in your party.
Children should be supervised by an adult at all times and never left unattended, even if a lifeguard is present.
Armbands can be a good training swimming aid for children but are not a substitute for supervision.
Never swim at night, after drinking alcohol.
Know how and where to get help, if you see someone in difficulty; raise the alarm preferably the emergency services – ensure you know the correct number for the country you’re in.
5. Don’t overestimate your ability
Consider lessons before you go if you think you might need them to learn proper swimming technique.
Even if you regularly swim in a pool, remember that open water swimming can be very different.
Stay SAFE with the RLSS UK’s code
The RLSS UK has tips and information as well as courses and awards designed to help you and your family stay safe. Visit www.rlss.org.uk for more information.