THE ATTENTION of the public has been drawn to guidelines regarding open water swimming off the Donegal coast.
Donegal County Council has issued a new brochure for swimmers to follow.
David Friel, the Council’s Water Safety Development Officer, presented the brochure at this month’s meeting of the Glenties Municipal District.
Open water swimming has become a popular hobby in the county.
The brochure says: “Make these rules your mantra whenever you get in the water. If you don’t, you’re putting your life and the lives of others who may try and rescue you at risk.”
1. NEVER SWIM ALONE
Our climate is unpredictable, that means the sea can change very quickly. Heed the advice given by regular swimmers. If they are not getting into the water due to conditions, then do not enter the water. If you do get in to difficulty, remain calm, try and float or tread water, until you can either continue swimming or are rescued.
2. MAKE SURE YOU CAN BE SEEN
It is essential that you wear a brightly coloured swimming cap. Yellow, pink… a colour that stands out in the water so other water users can see you. You should also use a bright coloured tow float for the same reason. Don’t be naïve about your vulnerability in the water. Boats and jet skis, depending on their speed, can pose a real threat to you similar to a vehicle on the open road.
3. ALCOHOL AND WATER NEVER MIX
3 in 10 people who drown have consumed alcohol before entering the water. Alcohol severely reduces your ability to swim and respond to risks as it impairs your judgement. Do not consume alcohol before you enter open water and, just as with driving, do not swim in open water the day after drinking alcohol.
4. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY
Do not let yourself get too cold in the water. Your body will react differently to the cold on different days. If you are tired, or developing a cold or flu you can start to feel colder, faster than usual. Always tailor the length of your swim to how you are feeling on a given day.
Get out if you are not feeling comfortable, and never set time goals for staying in the water.
5. WARM UP FAST
Post-swim it is important to warm up as quickly as possible. Once you get out of the water you can continue to cool for approximately 20-30 minutes. This means that your deep body or core temperature will be cooler 20-30 minutes after your swim than when you got out of the water. Get dry and dressed in warm layers of clothing as quickly as possible. Warm drinks are also a great way to bring your body temperature back to normal. Bring a flask of your favourite hot drink with you.