I am a reasonably experienced open water swimmer but by no means an expert.
A friend of mine who is an experienced pool swimmer and interested in getting into OW swimming was recently asking me about the risks involved and what they might need to be conscious/aware of when doing an OW swim.
I did my best to list the things I could think of but it got me thinking that a comprehensive list might be helpful with contributions from those with more experience. If this is already discussed elsewhere apologies.
I have listed below the things I could think of, I would be interested to hear if anyone has others that are not included:
- Your level of ability/experience and if it is sufficient for the conditions and risks on the day
- Current and forecasted weather and wind direction
- Water temp and do you have the experience/equipment to deal with it
- Your equipment and its condition
- Familiarity with cold water temps and ability to cope
- safe entry/exit points
- underwater hazards (rocks, nets)
- pollution/cleanliness of the water
- secure parking
- Dangerous sea life (like lions mane jellyfish!!)
- Non dangerous sea life that might become aggressive
- Any nearby sea life with young
- traffic (boats, jet skis etc)
- Swimming with a partner (advisable or essential?)
In particular the two things I wasn't able to give any advise on was whether or not it is dangerous to swim in/over sea weed and if jellyfish are the only sea creatures to be concerned about.
There isn't much sea weed at the beaches I swim at, and I normally keep well away from it, but besides the risk of getting tangled are there any other risks? My friend was asking about eels/crabs that might take an opportunistic nip out of a passing swimmer. I told them that I thought that this was unlikely but I don't know for sure. Can anyone confirm?
In terms of sea life, obviously jellyfish are the big concern but are there others to be concerned/aware of? Could seals become aggressive or overly curious?