No.42 go swimming in the sea

Boy kicking and splashing while laying in the sea

Swimming in the sea is one of those brilliant experiences. It is so different from swimming in a pool, and you'll need to be very careful of currents and tides so always swim with an adult and preferably on a beach with lifeguards.

Swimming in the sea is fun but it can be dangerous. Follow our tips to help you have the best time.

Choose your beach

Think about the tide times and the currents - some beaches aren't suitable for swimming because currents like rip tides can easily catch out swimmers and drag them out to sea.

It also helps to choose a flat, shallow beach, rather than one that slopes away very steeply to the sea, as when the tide comes in you could easily get out of your depth very quickly - on some beaches the water level changes by as much as 10 metres.

A lot of beaches have lifeguards, so if they do, always swim between the flags and listen to anything they tell you.

Many UK beaches have Blue Flag awards for the cleanliness of the water and other facilities like lifeguards and whether drinking water is available.

Choose your time of year

In the UK the sea is always fairly cold, but you can do this challenge if you go abroad in the summer too.

If you are going to swim in the UK, then it's wise to have a wetsuit, and it's essential if you want to swim in the colder months.

Choose your time to swim

Be aware of the tides and always know if the tide is coming in or out, and whether it's likely to be a high tide when you're at the beach. 

See what the experts say

The ASA and the RNLI run Swim Safe which is an initiative to help you learn about why swimming in the sea is not the same as swimming in a pool. You can read more of their advice or sign up for lessons in the links below.