Be Adventure Smart and stay safe around water this summer

Photo of a family running on a beach near the sea

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) is asking people to #BeAdventureSmart and take extra steps to keep themselves and their families safe around water as they head outdoors to enjoy Wales’ coast and countryside.

Adventure Smart is a multi-agency campaign looking to get people informed and prepared before taking part in outdoor activities and as the school holidays begin, the continued closure of swimming pools might tempt people to swim at the beach or inland at rivers or lakes.

Swimming outdoors carries extra risks that people new to the activity or location may not be aware of. Hidden objects beneath the surface, the effect of cold water on the body, and the dangers of moving water can quickly lead people into trouble.

Joe Roberts, Lead Specialist Advisor: Outdoor Access & Recreation, Natural Resources Wales said:

“As we welcome visitors back to our sites, we would like to ask people to take extra care in and around water to protect themselves and prevent putting extra pressure on the emergency services at this busy time.

“It’s understandable that on a hot day people will look to cool off in the water, but wild swimming is a very different experience to swimming indoors.

“People need to be responsible for their own safety and the safety of others with them by assessing the risks before they enter the water and paying more attention to what’s happening around them.

“If you’re a parent, you can help by to talking to your children about the dangers of being in water and what they need to do to be adventure smart.”

Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Lord Elis-Thomas, said:

“We’re looking forward to welcoming visitors back to Wales in a way that is safe for community and visitors alike. There’s been a surge in interest in wild swimming over the past few years. And there’s almost nowhere better to enjoy this kind of outdoor activity than the epic landscapes of Wales. 

“Swimming in open water is very different to swimming in a pool. Unseen currents, cold water and waves make wild swimming much more challenging. Our ask to those taking a dip is to be responsible for your own safety and the safety of those with you by assessing the risks before you enter the water and be aware of what’s happening around you.”

Follow these steps to help keep you safe in and around water

  • If possible, choose a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags, but lifeguard patrols can’t be on every beach this summer so be adventure smart to keep you and your family safe 

  • Check tide times before swimming in the sea and estuarine waters so you don’t get cut off by the tides.

  • Keep within your limits – if the water looks rough, don’t go in.

  • Don't use inflatables - they get swept out to sea, with you or your child on them.

  • If possible, wear a high visibility cap and carry a floatation device when swimming.

  • If you get into difficulty in the water don’t panic, stay calm; attract attention by raising your hand and shouting for help.

  • Enter the water slowly. If you accidentally fall in, fight your instinct to swim until cold water shock passes; relax and float on your back until you can control your breathing.

If you see someone in trouble in the water, it’s better to call for help than put yourself at risk. Call 999 and ask for the Coastguard if you’re at the beach, or the Fire and Rescue Service if you’re inland.

Find out how to have a safe and enjoyable time outdoors at Adventure Smart UK, and follow the advice in the Waterside Code and the Wild Swimming Code – part of the Countryside Code family.

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