GEAR,  Product Reviews

Five ways to stay safe when swimming in the dark

With the days drawing in and the number of daylight hours decreasing, many of us are soon to find our regular swimming hours taking place without the sun. Whilst swimming in the dark naturally carries additional risks, rather than retiring outdoor swimming until the spring, planning ahead can make for an experience unlike any other.

The following tips can ensure you get the most out of your swim whilst remaining safe and comfortable.

1. Swim in numbers

Swimming with others is always recommended, in spite of the time of the day or season. This is, however, of even more importance during darker hours, particularly given that there’s often fewer people about and visibility, particularly from distances, is reduced.

Before going on a swim, decide a plan of action with your swim buddy and how best to communicate if one of you find yourself in danger.

Try Swim Secure’s Safety Whistle (£2.50):…

2. Use routes you already recognise and you are comfortable with

Being unable to rely solely on your vision and having less clarity to sight points of reference makes it easy to lose a sense of direction, which can result in you going off-course or staying in the water longer than is safe to do so.

A daylight recce – noting entry and exit points, water conditions, and potential obstacles and hazards in the water – is very important to undertake before a swim in the dark, and ensures you’re as comfortable as possible with the route before using it.

3. Be bright, be seen

Pink Tow Float 1800X1800

Visibility in the water is paramount to a swim in the dark, both for yourself and others. Wearing bright colours in the form of costumes and hats will allow you to be seen and ultimately, remain safe.

Take a look at Selkie Swim Co Swim Hats, RRP £8:

Tow floats are an essential investment when swimming at any time of day, and undoubtedly when there’s a lack of light to aid vision. With little to no drag, it’s a great way to be seen without having an impact on your swim.

Swim Secure Tow Float in orange and pink (£21):…

4. Lights

Yonda Lights

Even when using recognised routes, dressing brightly and swimming with others, poor light conditions means you still run the risk of losing sight of others or important landmarks.

Lights are a simple but effective way to ensure better sight of your swim route, whilst also remaining visible to any traffic that may be in the water. It’s an easy way to make your swim fun too, by placing them directly in your tow float and lighting them up!

Yonda Adventure Swim lights in green and red (£11.99):

5. Warm up well afterwards

With a lack of sunlight and air temperature being cooler than in it would be during the day, it’s even more important to warm up quickly after your swim. Take lots of layers, towels, and definitely hot tea and cake.

Change robes are a particularly effective way to warm up after a swim, by placing it on over your clothes, or using it as protection from the elements when changing.

Check out Yoncho’s changing robe (£99) here:…

Swimming in the dark, even with added factors to consider, is often a more immersive experience than when swimming in the daylight hours, especially when having to rely on senses other than sight. If you’re informed and well-prepared, it can make for the most joyful type of swimming.

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Outdoor Swimmer is the magazine for outdoor swimmers by outdoor swimmers. We write about fabulous wild swimming locations, amazing swim challenges, swim training advice and swimming gear reviews.