Whether you are trying to beat the heat, improve your fitness level or just have fun, there is nothing like open water swimming. There is nothing wrong with swimming laps in your backyard pool or fitness club, but the sheer thrill of open water swimming puts those tamer venues to shame.
Unfortunately, the wild nature of open water swimming also introduces a number of safety challenges. You may not have a lifeguard to rely on when you are swimming in the open ocean or traversing the rough water of a secluded river or lake.
You should always check the water conditions before you head out for a swim, and you should never go swimming in the open water by yourself. Having a buddy to watch your back and watch out for dangerous currents is essential, so grab a friend before heading out to the open water.
Watch the movement of the water carefully and look out for sudden changes in the speed of the water. Those sudden changes could mean the water conditions are changing and that swimming is becoming more dangerous.
If the water looks fast, you can bet it is. Swimming in fast moving water puts you at risk of getting caught in a rip current, and that can be deadly. If you get caught in a rip current you did not see coming, remain calm and ride the current until it weakens. It might not seem like it, but the rip current will subside, and when it slows down you will have a chance to regain your bearings and head for shore.
Always be aware of your surroundings when swimming in open water, and never go further from shore than you feel is safe. It is easy to become fatigued in the open water, especially if the currents are strong or the water is rougher than you anticipated. Always head for shore at the first sign of fatigue. The last thing you want is to get caught in deep open water without the energy to make it to shore.
You might not think that dehydration would be much of a problem when you are swimming in the open water, but many open water swimmers do become dehydrated and suffer health problems as a result. Casual swimmers may not recognize the early warning signs of dehydration, while athletes in training may be reluctant to stop for needed hydration breaks.
No matter which category you fall into, it is important to watch out for the signs of dehydration. Early signs for dehydration can include increased thirst, dry mouth, a swollen tongue and overall weakness. Open water swimmers who are dehydrated may also experience dizziness and confusion, and under the right circumstances those symptoms could be deadly. Even if you just suspect you are becoming dehydrated, it is important to drink some fresh cool water as soon as possible. If that means heading for shore or cutting your training session short, so be it. It is better to be safe than sorry when enjoying the open water.
Whether you are swimming with friends or training for an upcoming competition, it is a good idea to bring along some sort of flotation device. The Nekdoodle® 1NTOWSwim Buddy is one of the most innovative pieces of open water swimming gear on the market – the Nekdoodle® 1NTOWSwim Buddy is a floatation device, but it is much more than that. Perfect for swimmers in any type of water, the Nekdoodle® 1NTOWSwim Buddy water cushion supports the head and neck for relaxing if you become tired and need a rest during swimming. The handy leash keeps with you, trailing you as you swim ready to use when necessary.
Now that you know all you need for a safe open water swim excursion, grab your sunscreen and Nekdoodle® 1NTOWSwim Buddy and get some strokes in the beauty of nature. Stay smart: grab a friend, check conditions, stay hydrated, and keep it safe with Nekdoodle® 1NTOWSwim Buddy.