Category: Open Water and Triathlon
Safe Open Water Swimming
There has been a sharp increase in open water swimming participation since Turner Swim launched in 2013. However, not all of this has been safe open water swimming. The latest major stufy in 2018, found there were 7.5 million adults swimming outdoors each year. (Source Swim England: https://www.swimming.org/swimengland/key-swimming-statistics/)
Sadly though, according to the National Water Safety Forum, 631 people in the UK died in water in 2020, with 242 recorded as an accident (Source: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/jul/23/at-least-17-people-drown-in-a-week-of-tragedies-in-englands-waters)
Swimming outdoors can feel like a true pleasure. All of the physical and mental benefits of working out are clear, but only if it is done safely. The risks of drowning or getting into difficulty are there for all to see. These can include from hypothermia, changes in the current or from simply being less efficient at swimming. As such, Turner Swim are keen to promote safe outdoor swimming. We feel that from our own swimming experiences that the safest open water swimming venue in London is at the Docklands Sailing and Watersports Centre near Canary Wharf.
Swimming and the Docklands Sailing and Watersports Centre, Canary Wharf
Turner Swim instructors have visited and swum at many open water swimming venues in London, the UK and across the world. The reason that we have chosen to operate open water swim coaching at the Watersports Centre, Canary Wharf, is due to the safety and facilities provided.
Open water swimming in cold water is a far higher risk activity than warm water swimming. Even when the water temperature reaches May and June highs of 16-17 oC, cold water shock and hypothermia affects can kick in within just a few minutes. Read our wetsuit blog to find our more about the effects of cold water.
The Watersports Centre site are open water specialists with highly trained staff. Safety boats, wrists bands and two way radios are in operation. In addition, showers and changing rooms compliment the open water experience. It may not feel that warranted when planning where to swim to think about changing rooms and warm showers. However, when shivering after a cold swim, having a shower is an essential part of a safe recovery.
The Centre’s staff are employed all year round. In addition to managing the swims, the vast majority are also fully qualified watersports coaches, be it in sailing, kayaking or rowing. The staff are seasoned professionals who turn out in all weathers and they certainly aren’t volunteers doing a few hours here and there to help out. Highly trained staff are well rehearsed in identifying cold water issues and safe recoveries. Centre staff are active, watching from kayaks and safety boats on the water by you. In an era of other alternative pop-up open water venues having a lifeguard sat on the side several hundreds of meters away from swimmers, we can’t overestimate how important having safety kayakers on the water close by to you is.
Finally, the Watersports Centre are a charity trust and any profits they make from private activities they plough straight back into the centre offering free watersports classes to local children on the Isle of Dogs.
The location is about a 10 minutes walk from Canary Wharf tube station, or 5 minutes from Crossharbour DLR. There is also on site parking for cars and bikes.
That’s why Turner Swim have chosen to partner with the Watersports Centre; a safe venue, first class open water swimming facilities, with well trained staff, set up as a non-for-profit helping the local Isle of Dogs community. Find out more about Turner Swim’s open water swim coaching here.
Docklands Sailing and Watersports Centre Swimming Fees
You don’t have to be a member to swim at the Docklands Sailing and Watersports Centre and all of our swim coaching prices include the entry fee for your session. Non-coached open water swim sessions are priced at £8 per swim or 10 swim credits for £70. Or, alternatively, the Watersports Centre also offers an annual membership reducing swims to £4 each.
Find out more about the Docklands Sailing & Watersports Centre and their safe open water swimming venues here.