How dangerous is sea swimming in cold weather?

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On Christmas Day 1885 a few hardy souls hobbled across Brighton’s pebbly beach and into the chilly English Channel.

That first Brighton Christmas Day swim has become a much-copied ritual around the world. But this year it’s been called off. And it seems unlikely the event, which has always been run by the Brighton Swimming Club, will ever be coming back.

Brighton & Hove City Council – supported by the swimming club – says it’s become too dangerous. It will close off the beach around the Palace Pier to dissuade people from entering the water on Christmas Day.

“Sea swimming takes skill, stamina and knowledge of the physical dangers and should only be for the very experienced, using suitable wetsuits, in very calm conditions and with a friend,” says the council’s seafront manager Chris Ingall. The council says it has no plans to bring the swim back in future years.

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Production engineer and certified swim coach. Full-time IT consultant, spare-time swimming aficionado. 2 sons, 2 daughters and a wife. President of the Faroe Islands Swimming Association. Likes to run :-)

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