HOWTO: Annual advice for a Christmas or New Year’s swim in cold water for the irregular open water swimmer

With Christmas coming, many people who would never consider getting in cold water will be thinking of a Christmas or New Year's Day dip.

The experienced cold water swimmers will not need any of this information. And those of you in the Southern Hemisphere are doubtless annoyed because it's mid-summer for you. And there's the South Africans though, for whom the water can still be cold down there even in mid-Summer.

* Cold is a skill, not a talent so it can be learned. But if your first cold swim is Christmas Day, you won’t do learn it on that one day. So instead plan and know what to expect.


* If it’s an irregular visit, your most important pre-swim action to make sure you know where to exit the water safely. Do not rely on the wisdom of crowds. Many of the people near you will know nothing and some will be acting macho.

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