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 they 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.
  • And safety advice from the RNLI website.

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 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 check your local government guidelines surrounding coronavirus before taking part in your challenge.
  • Please do not take part in the Crisis Icebreaker challenge if you have any coronavirus symptoms listed on the NHS website. Get a test and follow the stay at home guidance. You could always take part in the DIY Icebreaker at a later date.
  • Before you take part, consult your GP 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.
  • Please continue to be mindful of social distancing and sanitation practices to help stop the spread of coronavirus. See the government’s coronavirus guidance.