Cold Water Swimming

Cold water swimming is enjoyable and has a number of potential benefits, however, there are also risks involved. These include (but are not limited to) Cardiac Arrhythmias causing cariac arrest from cold water immersion and swim failure from rapid onset hypothermia affecting muscle function. Swimmers can also experience cold water shock, cramp, swimmers will also experience ‘after drop’ whee core body temperature drops after exiting the water and may last 15/20 minutes.

Cold water shock is the body’s reaction to sudden cold; it begins with a gasp reflex and continues with uncontrolled hyperventilation. It can occur in temperatues of 15 degrees C and lower, a particular risk is for those who submerge their face, where the body’s automatic response (breath holding) can conflict with the body’s cold shock response, which does the opposite (gasping) which can cause the heart to go into abnormal thythms and lead to death.

Before taking part in cold water swimming, please read and consider the following:-

* Disrobe allowing enough time for the skin to cool before entering the water

* Adapt and limit the amount of time you spend swimming as the water temperature drops and taking your health and ability into account.

*Pay attention to physiological signs – such as numbness or tingling of the extremities, any discomfort or dizziness then exit the water immdiatley and let others know.

* Where possible, swim regularly to acclimatise to cold and cooling waters. If you have not recently swum or the water temperature has dropped since your last swim, factor this in to the time you spend in the water.

* Rewarm by donning warm dry clothes, drinking a hot/sugary drink and entering the heated building. Do not go straight from cold water into a hot shower or sauna or exercise vigorously. Pay attention to the information displayed at Andark Lake  regarding use of the showers and sauna after swimming . Sauna is not open at present due to Covid restrictions.

* Those who indicate they are ready to leave the water should do so, others should not encourage them to stay in. Always use a Safety tow float when the water temperature is below 10 Degrees C.

* Certain groups are at higher risk – including those taking any medication and/or with :- high blood pressure, high cholesterol, BMI over 30, family history of heart disease or stroke, asthma, significant stress, sleep apnoea, viral infection. Persons with any of above risk factors need to take these into consideration when swimming and factor them in to the time spent in the water and should consult your doctor to discuss cold water swimming.

* Swimming at Andark Lake should be undertaken within the rules and procedures of Andark Lake. Andark Lake does not provide Lifeguard cover.

* Swimmers are expected to be competent swimmers in cold water and be able to swim at least 150 meters in a swimming pool.

* No swimming if there is any likelihood of lightning.

* Absolutely no swimming under ice or walking on ice if Lake freeze’s.

* No swimming under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs.

* Please be awre of others when swimming so as to avoid collision with swimmers, boat, pontoon & wildlife.

* Swimmers should keep an eye on other swimmers and be prepared to help others especially during longer swims and in recovery, or have a nominated buddy for longer/colder swims to assist.

* Swimmers must ensure that they are sufficiently re-warmed before leaving the site in order that swimmers pose no additional risks to themselves or others.