Christmas Day Dip cancelled in Weston-super-Mare because of health and safety regulations

The Christmas Dip is one of the highlights of the festive calendar in Weston-super-Mare Credit: ITV

An annual charity swimming event held in Somerset has been cancelled this Christmas.

The RNLI Christmas Day Dip, held at Marine Lake in Weston-super-Mare each year sees swimmers brave cold waters in aid of the lifeboat charity.

Tight timescales have meant that this year, the RNLI was unable to carry out necessary health and safety checks in time.

There were also concerns regarding the level of mud which remains in the lake after remedial work to the sluice gates was unable to be carried out.

The RNLI said: “Unfortunately there are no plans to hold any organised events over Christmas / New Year this year, but we are already planning for next year.

“With all of the recent work in Marine Lake, we were unable to get all of the safety requirements and plans in place for this year, but we will be back.

“Marine Lake will be open to swimmers as usual.”

They added: “If you are thinking about a swim or quick dip at any time of the year, please remember that our waters are cold all year round.”

Health and safety regulations state that a full risk assessment needs to be carried out ahead of any event going ahead.

The RNLI is urging people who fancy a dip this winter to follow safety precautions below due to the risk of cold water shock.

They have issued the following safety advice:

  • Be prepared. Check the weather and tides, choose your spot, go with a buddy, have the right equipment.

  • If in doubt, don’t go out. No matter how much preparation you do, or how experienced you are, if a swim doesn’t feel right there is no shame in getting out of the water straight away, or not entering.

  • Make sure you acclimatise to avoid cold water shock.

  • Be seen. Wear a bright coloured swim hat and take a tow float.

  • Stay within your depths, remember float to live.

  • Call 999 and ask for the coastguard in an emergency.