Water Safety Ireland is urging those planning festive charity dips to be mindful of the effect of a new moon on Dec 23rd which will lead to higher tides throughout the weekend.
Higher tides can hide unfamiliar depths and hazards that can result in injuries and entanglement. Staying within your depth and close to shore will help avoid rip currents that can take a swimmer away in cold water, where the onset of hypothermia can make it difficult to self-rescue.
Charity swims have grown in popularity, yet some swimmers occasionally take chances beyond their ability, finding themselves left without sufficient strength to climb out of the water due to the cold.
Sudden immersion in cold water can induce “Cold Shock” which can cause dramatic changes in breathing, heart rate and blood pressure. The sudden gasp and rapid breathing create a greater risk of drowning, even for confident swimmers in calm waters.
To help prevent Cold Shock, festive dippers should first become accustomed to the colder temperatures by splashing themselves with water while getting in slowly. People should get out without delay and warm up quickly to avoid the risk of hypothermia.