5,000 ocean activists took a Dip A Day this October

Surfers Against Sewage’s first mass participation event proved to be a roaring success, with 5,000 people immersing themselves in cold water every day in October. 

Dip A Day was Surfers Against Sewage’s first mass participation event, which ran for one month in October. The challenge invited people to dip in some form of cold water – whether that be the sea or a cold shower – each day throughout the month.

The idea was to reap the rewards of the cold water immersion, while raising vital funds to support SAS’s ocean-saving work. Over 5,000 people took part in Dip A Day, with the month-long challenge raising £164,000 for the marine conservation charity. 

People participated across the country (and abroad), taking their bracing dips in water-filled whiskey barrels, bathtubs and cold showers, as well as highland lochs, lidos, lakes, rivers and the sea. 

“We had national participation in this campaign, from all the way up in Scotland, through Northern Ireland all the way to the tip of Cornwall,” said Sophie Brandon, SAS Community Fundraising Officer. “We even had some global participants in other countries, like Portugal and Germany.”

A call to protect our oceans

Some Dip A Day participants felt a personal connection with SAS’s call to protect our oceans. “The challenge felt personal to me. I want to fight the fight to help take care of my local community. I value it and I want it to last,” said Chantelle in Southsea. “I have had such a great time swimming with friends and their children, my family and even strangers I have met on the beach. People protect what they love and I am really in love with Southsea; it’s my home.”

Other swimmers embraced the experience or used it to help them swim into their first cold water season. “When you’re in the cold water, you can’t think of any of the anxieties or stress from the day, or your to-do list. You can only think ‘I’m cold’, said dipper Tom. “It centers you and brings you into the moment; into the now.”

“We had such a great time with our dips that we will be continuing throughout the winter,” said another participant, Victoria. “It’s been a fabulous community to become involved with.”

64% say wild swimming improves mental wellbeing

Earlier today, Surfers Against Sewage released their annual water quality report, which highlights the inextricable link between outdoor swimming and mental and physical wellbeing. It also revealed shocking data on sewage released into popular swimming spots, even locations where water quality is classified as ‘excellent’.

“Sixty four per cent of people in our 2022 consumer survey agreed that wild swimming had improved their mental and physical wellbeing,” said Sophie. “Studies on the impact of nature connection have shown that the better relationship we have with nature the more we are willing to act to help the environment.”

“Blue and Green Social Prescribing is also becoming more commonplace as a recognised treatment for mental illness. But without thriving blue spaces, we can’t have thriving people. And so campaigns like Dip A Day in October are vital to fund our campaigning work to protect our wild blue spaces, and also to bring together communities that all have a unified love of our ocean, to make a combined voice a more powerful one to #endsewagepollution for good.”

Dip A Day will be back in 2023. Find out more and register your interest on the Surfers Against Sewage website.

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Jo is the Gear Editor for Outdoor Swimmer and also writes news and features for the website. A keen open water swimmer and long-distance walker, she loves seeking out lakes and lidos close to her home in the Mendip Hills, Somerset. She is the author of The Slow Traveller, editor and founder of independent magazine, Ernest, and has previously tested outdoor clothing and kit for BBC Countryfile Magazine, BBC Focus and Ernest Journal.