When it comes to sea swimming there are all types of kits, equipment and accessories for different levels and types of swimming for example: pool versus sea.
So what are the essentials you need for sea or open water swimming during the summer? Whether your a experienced swimmer, or just going for dip or short swim to cool off on a warm day the following list is a key sea swimming kit you will need this summer to keep you safe:
- Neoprene Swimming Cap
- Good Googles
- Swimming Buoy
- Dry Bag
- Changing Robe
- Sun Screen
A neoprene swimming cap is designed for open water swimming and a great way to protect your head from the cold water and the sun. Most people think that swimming caps was designed to keep your hair dry but there are actually to reduce drag in the water and make you swim faster.
- These hats help retain your body heat while training in colder water or for longer periods of time.
- They also help to ensure your goggles stay in place. Experienced swimmers often wear two caps with the goggles between layers to ensure they don't lose them while swimming.
- For open water swimming you should wear a brightly coloured cap that makes you more visible and easier to spot in the water. Avoid colors like black, blues, greens or browns and opt for yellow's or orange.
- Other benefits include helping prevent sunburn on your scalp, as well as hair damage and loss.
Goggles are an important part of your summer swim kit. They're the first thing you put on when you get in the water and they should be comfortable, durable and easy to adjust. Good goggles should not slip down your face or leek when you swimming.
To keep things simple, we've got some key criteria to help you pick out a pair of goggle:
- Fit: A good fit means that there are no gaps between your face and the goggles; this will prevent water from leaking into them or stinging your eyes and should have good quality adjustable straps.
- It's also important that they don't leave red marks on either the bridge on your nose or side of your head from being too tight. Try them out with different sizes until you find one that fits comfortably yet snugly enough to not fall off during swimming.
- Quality: Swim goggles are pretty simple items but don't skimp on quality here! You want something that won't degrade over time due to sea salt, are scratch resistant and provide UV ray projected lenses, these will provide you longer wear so you won't have to replace them to often.
Key outdoor swimming equipment: A swimming buoy is a buoyant safety device that helps you stay afloat in the water.
- The most common type of swimming buoy's have a strap that goes
around your waist and attaches to the buoy. They should be brightly coloured to a make it easy to spot.
- They are specially designed for open water swimming to give you added buoyancy in the water, great if you need a break whilst in the water or more importantly if you get into difficulty and need help staying afloat.
Dry bags beat beach bags every time:) They keep all your swimming equipment together, dry, protected and safe. You could bring a beach bag but they usually get wet, sandy and don't provide any water proof protection.
- Another great dual bag is a Buoy 'N' Bags.
These are dry bags that double up as swim buoys. If your on your own and want to go in the water and don't want to leave your things unattended these are an amazing piece of kit.
- When the bag is fully deflated, add your personal belongings then simple inflate and you're good to go. These are not just for swimmers but are great for other water sports like SUPing.
A good changing robe is a great addition to any swimmer's summer equipment. Getting out of wet swim gear and changing into clothes for both adults and kids can be a challenge. Towels need to be tied and can slip down.
Swimming robes for changing make it easy; simple put on, zip up and change clothes underneath, they are designed to be lose fitting, extra wide and long just for this purpose.
Along with being comfortable, they are wind and water proof to protect against the elements (not ever day is a sunny day) and the best ones also have a hoods.
Extra benefit if they have internal pockets also, or loop for keys or cash.
Don't forget waterproof sun protection. Use a high factor (at least 30+) liberally on any exposed skin, especially areas like face, shoulders, back and back of legs.
Put in on at least thirty minutes before you get in the water so that you get full protection, sun screens don't provide full protection out of the bottle - they need time to take effect.
Remember the reflection from the water will burn your skin quicker than on land.
Hydrate: Drink before and after you swim, replace fluid lost to heat and sweat. When you are in the water, especially the sea which is colder that the air in places like Ireland, it can be very deceiving.
Don't wait till you start to feel thirsty to drink, this is a sign you are already getting dehydrated.
Make sure you are prepared for swimming in different situations.
To be safe when swimming in the sea:
- Read the beach safety signs
- Swim with a swim buoy
- Avoid staying in colder water for extended periods. Bring the right kit and know your own swimming ability and limits.
- Learn to spot rip currents. Rip currents are powerful channels of fast-moving water that can pull swimmers away from shore and out to sea.
- Swim between the red and yellow flags - these flags show you where it's safe to swim at beaches with lifeguards on duty. If you do not see any flags around then stay out of the water.
- You should also avoid swimming in the sea after really heavy rains because runoff from streets can pollute the water, something regular swimmers from Dublin, Ireland know well!
And those are our essential sea summer swimming kit items. If you’re new and just started sea swimming, we hope you feel more confident about what sort of swimming gear you should bring. And if you’re a seasoned pro, let us know in the comments below what other pieces of equipment we missed or which ones are on your list of must-haves!