Sea swimmers warned about dangers of cold water shock

An experienced sea swimmer in Jersey is warning her fellow islanders about the dangers of cold water shock.

Sally Minty-Gravett says that while there are many physical and mental benefits to open-water swimming, it can also carry potential risks - particularly with temperatures dropping during the winter months.

She says she is aware of a number of recent instances where swimmers have run into trouble in the water - and is urging them to exercise caution.

Credit: ITV Channel TV

People are desperate to get in the water and I get that - it's so good for us, but as I say to a lot of people who've asked me since November, winter is not the time to start ideally, unless you're dressed up in a wetsuit and a hat and gloves, and go in with experienced people. We're coming in to the coldest time of the year now. The sea is still not at its coldest.

Sally Minty-Gravett MBE, open water swimmer

How to stay safe in open water swimming

  • Stay within your limits: Outdoor swimming is very different to swimming in a pool. There are lots of possible hazards. Know your ability and know your limits. It is also important to not stay in the water for too long, especially when it is cold. Experts say a general rule of thumb is a maximum of one minute per degree, so if it was 10 degrees you should not spend any longer that 10 minutes in the water.

  • Go with someone experienced: You should never swim outdoors alone. Always go with someone who knows what they are doing so they can help you if you get in trouble.

  • Know the tide: With one of the biggest tidal zones in the world, it is important to know tide times and if they will affect your swim.

  • Check the forecast: Rain, sea fog and winds can effect you when swimming outdoors. Always check the weather forecast before swimming and never enter the water if you are unsure