Dive in, but stay safe

As thousands of swimmers get ready to take part in the popular "Festive Dip” over Christmas and New Year, St John Ambulance shares its first aid advice for swimmers braving the icy and, in some cases, polluted waters.   

Over recent years, wild swimming in winter has seen a surge in popularity, with people of all ages enjoying the physical and mental health benefits. A survey by Outdoor Swimmer found over 65 per cent of its readers chose to exercise at local beaches and lakes during the colder months.  

But, whether you're a seasoned "Festive Dipper" or trying it for the first time this winter, St John is urging swimmers to be aware of the dangers of cold-water shock. This natural response occurs when the body is suddenly exposed to water at 15 degrees or less.

Matthew Booker, Associate Medical Director for St John Ambulance, advised, "We want everyone to enjoy this great tradition safely, so we're encouraging people to do their research and plan ahead, pack warm clothes and something hot to eat or drink to warm up quickly after exiting the water. By following a few simple steps, you can help reduce the risks of cold-water shock developing into something more serious."  

St John Ambulance recommends:   

Read all about your safety in cold (<10C) open water @ St-John's Ambulance Service