Proposal launched to create Scottish Open Water Swimming Association

The Scottish Open Water Swimming Association (SOWSA) is a proposed new charity that aims to promote and grow safe open water swimming in Scotland. The intention is to launch SOWSA in February 2018 following a three month consultation period.

The draft consultation documents for SOWSA note that the situation for open water swimmers in Scotland is different to England and Wales because of statutory rights of access to most land and inland waters. Like in the rest of the UK, open water swimming has become increasingly popular in Scotland. However, as recently as 2010, open water swimming was not even identified as an activity in the water specific guide to the Scottish Outdoor Access Code called Using Inland Water Responsibly: Guidance for All Water Users. Nor were swimmers mentioned as open water users. That omission fortunately has been rectified in the latest version.

The proposed charity defines it key objective as follows:

To bring together all stakeholders involved in open water swimming including open water swimmers, swim coaches, event organisers, boat pilots, health and safety professionals, land owners, local and national tourism bodies, and relevant heritage and conservation bodies into one body with the aim of promoting and growing safe open water swimming in Scotland.

Download the consultation document here.

SOWSA can be found on social media:




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I created Outdoor Swimmer in 2011 (initially as H2Open Magazine) as an outlet for my passion for swimming outdoors. I've been a swimmer and outdoor swimmer for as long as I remember. Swimming has made a huge difference to my life and I want to share its joys and benefits with as many people as possible. I am also the author of Swim Wild & Free: A Practical Guide to Swimming Outdoors 365 a Year and I provide one-to-one support to swimmers through Swim Mentoring.