Open water swimming is the most ancient style of swimming in the entire history of mankind. Yet surprisingly enough it is only recently that it has been added to most forms of swimming competitions.
There are many reasons why open water swimming hasn’t been viewed as a worthy candidate or worthy environment for different sorts of competition.
The reason that rains supreme being the chill and relaxed nature of open water swimming. It is an activity meant for leisure.
Techniques that people mostly use when practicing open water swimming may include anything, but mostly it is the freestyle technique.
At first glance, we can easily say that open water swimming is a safe practice. That is true only to an extent though.
There are countless risks that are associated with open water swimming and most of the time people ignore or completely forget about them.
If you are planning to go swimming on open waters, we highly recommend that you keep the following 3 in mind, as they can represent some very valuable safety guidelines.
Open Water Swimming Isn’t For Everyone
Before elaborating on what the above mentioned statement means, let us understand what open water swimming is.
Wikipedia defines open water swimming as any sort of swimming that is practiced on natural and open bodies of water. The sea, lakes, rivers, and such.
When we say that this practice isn’t for everyone, we are mostly referring to the idea that not all people are capable of swimming on open waters.
First you have people who aren’t good swimmers, or those who cannot swim at all. Swimming in a pool is completely different from swimming on open waters.
These people should avoid open waters as much as possible, at the very least avoid it until they get a bit better at swimming.
You also have different sorts of swimming on open waters. For example winter swimming can be done in open waters.
Here we see that open water swimming isn’t for everyone based on the idea that not all people can withstand the biting cold of winter swimming.
However, this isn’t to say that open water swimming is something that not all people can enjoy in their lives. Instead, we believe that everyone can be part of it.
Take a few hours of swimming lessons and you should definitely reach a level where you can easily swim on open waters.
As we said at the beginning, the idea here is that you try and maintain as much safety as possible, and not to make you shy away from any sort of swimming.
Open Water Swimming Is Where Most Drowning Happens
Over 3500 people die annually due to drowning. Out of these terrifying numbers, only 360 cases of drowning happen in swimming pools or spas.
This really puts things into perspective and we see that about 90% of all drowning cases happen on open waters.
The main reason why these statistics are the way they are, is closely related to how swimming pools have to adhere to certain safety standards, while nature doesn’t.
Then there is the fact that most swimming pools are lifeguarded at all times, while swimming in the wild is usually done mostly in private.
Again, we don’t want anyone reading this to consider never going for a swim on open waters. Let us show you how you can try and increase the safety of open water swimming.
For starters, always obey the signs you see around swimming areas. If you see that swimming is prohibited, then do not swim there.
Also keep the usual safety guidelines in mind. For example safety vests can be a literal lifesaver… Don’t be the person who wished they had one when they needed it the most.
Never swimming alone is also a great advice. However, some people really like to do that, so the best you can do is avoiding intoxicants such as alcohol or weed.
Ideally you want to have your swimming skills on point, but also to have friends who have a decent grasp on swimming.
There Is More To Open Water Swimming
We have discussed many times whether swimming on lakes is safe or not. One thing that we can say in this regard is that a lot of things are connected with this question.
What do you mean by safe, and what is it that usually makes swimming in a certain place unsafe? These questions can garner different answers.
For example, some places are clean and have pure waters, but they also contain dangerous currents that can make any and all swimmers unable to escape.
Then you have lakes that aren’t that deep or that don’t usually have strong waves and/or currents, but they aren’t safe due to other things.
One huge problem that we are facing as far as the environment is concerned, is the constant polluting of different lakes and rivers by human activity.
This pollution comes in many different flavors. Sometimes businesses dump toxic waste, some other times farms dump their manure in rivers and lakes. Either way, swimming becomes unsafe once such a thing happens.
Alligators, snakes, even lions (depending on where in the world you live), can also make up for a huge safety hazard when swimming on open waters.
Usually to circumvent these things you have to pay attention to signs, learn about the purity of the water from different sources, so on and so forth.
Unfortunately this third point is going to be a bit beyond your control, and all you can do is try not to jump into waters that aren’t safe.
Water safety is a major component of any activity that includes swimming, this is especially true for open water swimming.
We hope that everyone gets to enjoy swimming on open waters. By trying and making things safer, we just want to help keep things fun and cheerful.