Safety Tips To Survive In Cold Water


Hopefully, you’ll never find yourself in a life threatening situation where you need to survive in cold water for a length of time. However, nobody ever predicts this is a situation which will occur to them, so it is good to know how to survive in case the worst happens.


It is highly likely that your body will go into shock in the event of accidental immersion into cold water. You may find it hard to catch your breath, and it becomes easy to panic. Try to relax, breathe and move. If you simply float, your body is not working to keep itself warm and your body temperature is likely to drop even more rapidly. Ideally, try to swim towards safety, however if this isn’t possible, you should continue to move in any way you can. Studies suggest that you can swim for 800-1500 metres in cold water, so try to make it count.

Don’t Panic

Although perhaps easier said than done, try to think logically. Try to assess your surroundings as soon as possible. When making a hesitant decision, you are less likely to be able to complete your rescue plan, due to the fact that your judgement begins to falter once you have been in the cold water for an increased amount of time.

Be Safe

Take those early moments to ensure your life jacket is securely tightened, set off any alerts you may have, and then begin your rescue mission. Typically, adults have 30 minutes before becoming clinically hypothermic, and an hour or more for this to become severe. This means that you have a good chance of being able to save yourself, you have time.


Try to keep your head above water and keep moving, regardless of how tired you become. If your body temperature drops further, your body will use more energy to try to keep you warm than it would for you to continue moving.

How To Warm Up Before Swimming

It is common knowledge, that it is important to warm up before exercising. However, often people are unaware how to safely warm up before swimming.


Why Is It Important?

When you swim, you are using a huge range of muscles. To avoid injuring these muscles, and to optimise your performance, it is recommended that you warm up effectively. Warming up, helps to oxygenate your body, ensuring there is enough oxygen present in the working muscles. This increases energy supply, meaning your muscles will work more effectively, resulting in a better performance from you.

It also increases your body temperature, which prevents injury in your muscles and tendons. Injury prevention allows your muscles to become stronger, as you can continue to train harder and for longer. A similar process works on your cardiovascular system during a warm up, allowing your heart rate to gradually increase, again, meaning you can work out for longer.

How To Warm Up

Gently swim or walk in the water for 5 minutes to warm your body up, this is especially important if the pool is cool. Once you feel warm and your heart rate has increased, you can introduce stretches. In between or during stretches, it is vital to maintain your body temperature. When present in water, your body temperature is likely to drop rapidly. Between stretches, spend 15-20 seconds jogging or swinging your arms or legs to prevent this drop in temperature.


Stretch near the side of the pool if possible, so that you can use the wall to aid your stretches. You will need to focus on stretching your arms and shoulders, legs, glutes and hips, as you use all of these muscles and joints, regardless of which stroke you adopt. Stretch as you would for any cardio workout, but remember to keep warm between each stretch.