Cold Water Swimming Tips

Please wear a swim cap during your challenge to help retain body heat. Crisis will provide Crisis branded swim caps to all participants. Fancy dress is optional, but encouraged, if you do wear fancy dress make sure that it does not affect your ability to swim safely

Acclimatise to the cold; get in gradually and do not jump in to cold water.

Swim gently at first, allowing time to overcome the shock/shallow breathing reaction to the cold

Seek help immediately if you feel very cold, woozy, nauseous, disorientated, dizzy or faint

Warm up gradually after getting out of the water. Use lots of layers, and wear clothes without complicated fastenings. Don't have a shower straight away. Wrap up after the swim and avoid standing around.

The best way to see yourself through ‘afterdrop’, is to change immediately. Dry yourself off (pat, don’t rub), add lots of warm layers, and have a warm drink. Put yourself in a warm place. Don’t drive until you feel well.

Consult your GP before getting into cold water if you suffer from heart disease, asthma, lung conditions or any other medical conditions that might be affected by exposure to cold water, or if you are pregnant.

Please don't try this alone; make sure someone is with you who will be able to help you if you get into trouble.

Take your mobile phone and make sure someone knows where you're going

Be safe and check local advice when choosing where to swim. You are responsible for choosing a safe location, and assessing your own ability.<

If swimming in open water, go with someone experienced, wear brightly coloured clothes or are easy to see. Bear in mind that boats and other vehicles may be using the same water as you.

See official tips from The Outdoor Swimming Society.

Safety guidance and coronavirus

If you are doing your challenge at a local lido, or open water, you must be over 18. 

If you are doing your challenge at home and are under 18, you must be under the supervision of an adult.  

Please read through our cold water tips above and safety guidance before participating in the Crisis Icebreaker.  

Please check your local conditions, tides and RNLI reports before your challenge to ensure your area is safe for swimming. 

Please have at least one person from your household or support bubble, who is a competent swimmer, to watch and support you while you swim, to ensure your safety. 

Please check your local government guidelines surrounding coronavirus before taking part in your challenge, including any restrictions for your local areas tier status. 

Please do not invite a crowd to watch your Crisis Icebreaker challenge. You can have people support you, but you will need to follow the current rules in place on social distancing. Please see the FAQ section for more information on what restrictions in your area might mean for your Icebreaker challenge.

Please do not take part in the Crisis Icebreaker challenge if you have any coronavirus symptoms listed on the NHS website. You may take part at a later date once you have self isolated for the appropriate time and fell well enough to do so.  

Please do not take part in the Crisis Icebreaker challenge if you have any underlying health conditions that make you more vulnerable to coronavirus. If you are part of the clinically vulnerable or extremely vulnerable category, please follow the government guidance

If your area is in local lockdown, please do not break any guidelines or travel to any beaches or lidos beyond your area.  

If you travel to complete your challenge in open water, you should also avoid travelling to any part of the country subject to very high local coronavirus alert levels. 

Please continue to follow the Hands, Face, Space guidance while you fundraise for the Icebreaker Challenge: Wash hands - keep washing your hands regularly. Cover face - wear a face covering in enclosed spaces. Make space - stay at least 2 metres apart - or 1 metre with a face covering or other precautions. 

See all coronavirus guidance on