Everyone’s got their theory about how best to prepare for the plunge (usually involving tots of rum or whiskey), and the best way to regain a regular human temperature afterwards (again with the whiskey). But what’s the official advice? We got on to the folks at Irish Water Safety — here’s what they told us…
- If you’re organising a charity swim, make sure to give the details to your local Coast Guard unit and gardaí first.
- Appoint a ‘safety officer’ to oversee the event, and who will have the ultimate responsibility for deciding if the swim can go ahead.
- Don’t take a chance on running the swim if the weather deteriorates — defer it to a different day.
- It is a fallacy that alcohol will keep you warm when entering the water; in fact it has the reverse effect and could well kill you. IWS says it “strongly recommends that no alcohol be taken either before the swim or after the swim”.
- “Make sure you have safe access and exit points from the water”… In other words, don’t thoughtlessly throw yourself into the sea without a plan for how to get out!
- And the final word of advice: “Swimmers’ remaining in the water for extended periods in a gesture of bravado is not acceptable. The message is ‘Get In, Get Out and Warm Up’.”