Here’s how to stay safe while swimming in open water during the heatwave

James Maudre, Mayors Cosort Brian Bayford, Mayor of Fareham Councillor Susan Bayford, Mark Davis, Kelle Russell.  Picture: Keith Woodland

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A heatwave has hit Portsmouth - and we are all looking for the best ways to keep cool.

Going for a dip in the sea or a local pool can be a great way to cool down after hours in the sweltering heat.

Remember to stay safe if you go for a swim at Southsea beach. Picture : Habibur Rahman

Remember to stay safe if you go for a swim at Southsea beach. Picture : Habibur Rahman

But swimming in open water, including the sea, comes with an inherent risk and you could be putting your life in danger if you don’t take care.

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Fast currents could pull you into trouble and jumping into the cold water on a hot day can cause your body to go into shock, as it is not expecting the sudden temperature change.

Two people died after getting into trouble while swimming in open water yesterday, a woman who went for a swim in the sea at Eastbourne, East Sussex, and a man in Surrey.

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The Royal Life Saving Society, the drowning prevention charity, has issued a series of top tips for staying safe while swimming in open water.

- Always look for warning and guidance signs

- Swim parallel with the shore, not away from it

- Avoid drifting in the currents

- Do not enter fast flowing water

- Be aware of underwater hazards

- Get out of the water as soon as you start to feel cold

- Never enter the water after consuming alcohol

- Only enter the water in areas with adequate supervision and rescue cover

- Always wear a buoyancy aid or lifejacket for activities on the water or at the water’s edge (such as when boating or fishing)

- Always take someone with you when you go into or near water. If something goes wrong they will be able to get help

- If someone is in difficulty in the water shout reassurance to them and shout for help and call the emergency services (call 999 or 112)

- Without endangering yourself see if you can reach out to them with a stick, pole or item of clothing – lie down to ensure you stay secure. Alternatively throw something buoyant to them such as a ring buoy or anything that will float.

- Swim at unsupervised (un-lifeguarded sites) including lakes, quarries reservoirs and rivers

- Jump into the water until you have acclimatised to the water temperature

- Jump into the water from heights or ‘tombstone’

- Swim into deep water which will be colder.