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12th Dec 2022

Warnings issued for Irish sea swimmers as temperatures set to drop further this week

Fiona Frawley

salthill diving platform in galway with crashing waves and cold looking water

Irish water temperatures are reportedly colder than they’ve been in three years.

Sea swimmers have been advised to take extreme caution over the coming days, as low temperature and snow/ice warnings remain in place for the entire country.

Water Safety Ireland have warned that as the cold spell continues, anyone intending on swimming in the sea needs to take extra precautionary measures.

In a social media post, the organisation wrote:

Remember to carefully consider the dangers of cold water swimming this December to avoid cold shock or hypothermia. 

Be prepared with a dry towel, warm layers, a thermal cap and a hot drink following your swim.

Meanwhile, International Ice Mile swimmer Fergal Somerville has said that water temperatures have dropped drastically in recent days and are now the coldest they’ve been for three years.

Speaking on NewsTalk, Somerville said even experienced winter swimmers should be mindful of the substantially colder conditions.

The water temperature for open water swimmers has dropped to about 3.8C around the country. That’s a 6C drop in two weeks, he said.

That’s a big, big change for anyone swimming, so they have to take care.

If you are planning on taking a dip this week, Swim Ireland advise the following for swimming in cold conditions:

  • Get in slowly to avoid cold water shock. According to Swim Ireland, All Irish waters are cold enough to cause cold water shock pretty much every day of the year. They advise walking in up to your hips, splashing your top half and face, then walking the rest of the way in. As you enter, you will gasp and your breathe will quicken rapidly, so take some breaststroke strokes, keeping your head out of the water and focus on controlling your breath. Don’t go out of your depth, and be sure to get out after a few minutes.
  • Know the signs of hypothermia – Hypothermia occurs when the body’s core temperature drops below 35C, can creep up gradually and first presents as persistent shivering, feeling cold, and having low energy. Swim Ireland advise to keep moving in the water at all times, get out as soon as you feel you are getting colder, and dress as quickly as you can.
  • Wear a watch to monitor your time in the water. This is particularly important if you’re new to sea swimming, or an experienced swimmer encountering colder than usual conditions.

  • Bring layers and a hot drink to warm up with afterwards. Get dressed as quickly as possible, and bear in mind that your body temperature is likely to have dropped after your swim, so what you arrived in might not be warm enough to get you back to normal.

Header image via Shutterstock 

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