New swimmers code for Lake District

Lake District National Park Rangers and Cumbrian open-water swimmers have released more helpful tips on swimming safely in the Lake District's lakes.

Be seen, have support

Swimmers may be able to see boaters but boaters may not be able to see swimmers.

  • Have a safety boat or canoe support displaying a white and blue Alpha flag
  • Wear a bright swim cap and tow a bright float
  • Never swim alone
Wearing a bright swim cap will make swimmers more visible Credit: ITV Border

Be water wise

Exposure to cool water can rapidly lead to hypothermia

  • Wear a wetsuit to keep you warmer and more buoyant
  • Enter the water slowly to get used to it
  • Check the depth and the water bed by walking in carefully
  • Don't jump in

Be informed

Other people use the lakes too. Windermere, Derwentwater, Coniston Water and Ullswater are busy with boats.

People on boats may struggle to see swimmers. A collision with any boat can be fatal.

  • Tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back
Safety canoe displaying a white and blue Alpha flag Credit: ITV Border

Be mindful

  • Choose one of the quieter lakes that do not allow boats
  • Avoid mooring areas, marinas and jetties used by boats, ferry routes and boating channels
  • Be aware boaters may be in any area of the lake at any time of day or night
  • Only swim when weather conditions are suitable - remember they can change quickly

Tens of thousands of swimmers will attend open water swimming events in the area this summer.

It's one of the fastest-growing sports in the county.

The new code is hoped to improve safety for open-water swimmers in the Lake District.

It is not uncommon for swimmers to have had near misses in the lakes and it is important that swimmers follow the guidance issued by Lake District Rangers.

"I've only had one near-miss, which was enough. I wasn't wearing a particularly bright hat at the time - I thought it was bright but in retrospect it wasn't. A ferry came really close to me and gave me the shock of my life really. And since then I've made it a bit of a mission through my business to introduce people to safe swimming in the Lake District."

– Pete Kelly, Head to the Hills, Ambleside

The code suggests thinking about the location of your swim and the size of your group.

"We recommend avoiding the navigable lakes so Windermere's great for big events but if you're swimming in a smaller group or on your own, things like that, go for the quieter areas, so go for places like Rydal Water or the quieter areas on places like Coniston."

– Claire MacLaine, Go Lakes Travel