Wild Swimming at Night Condemned

Wild Swimming at Night Condemned

The Herald Scotland reports: “A midnight dip has long been a feature of holidays and night time aquatic activity can be popular with wild swimmers, but there are new warnings against the practice in Scotland’s waters.”

…two women …got into trouble in the sea off Orkney, and had to be rescued by a specialist swimmer. The coastguard was contacted just before 1:50am today by the Scottish Ambulance Service who had received a report of two people in the water at Inganess Bay, a sandy beach two miles to the east of the Orkney Capital of Kirkwall.

The Kirkwall Coastguard rescue team and RNLI lifeboat were sent to the scene along with the coastguard search and rescue helicopter from Shetland.

The coastguard team was first to arrive and its specialist rescue swimmer swam out 70m before reaching the causalities. Both were brought ashore where they were met by waiting paramedics and transferred to Balfour Hospital in Kirkwall.

Andy Graham of Shetland Coastguard said: “I would advise against people entering the water at night, the sea may look calm but strong currents can cause hidden dangers. You should always check tidal conditions and when possible swim at a beach where a lifeguard is present. “The coastguard rescue swimmer who went into the water should be praised for his bravery, without him the rescue tonight could have easily had a very different outcome.”

But some wild swimming enthusiasts enjoy night time swimming. Kate Rew, director of Outdoor Swimming Society (OSS) describes, on the society’s website, a wild swim in stormy weather at night in the Lake District in late October, that inspired her to found the OSS.

The OSS also says “Wild swimming is much like every other outdoor sport: climbing, hiking, mountain biking, kayaking. There are risks but they can be moderated. The official UK statistics on water-related deaths show that swimmers do not feature as often as some people think, and put the risks into context. Of the 389 water-related deaths in the UK in 2013, 59 were swimmers, while 126 were described as walking or running.” More…

See: Swim Smart – Educating adults and teenagers about Wild Swimming water safety

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