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Swimming in open water can be fun, but also hazardous. However, if you are aware of and manage the risks you will have many fun adventures. Here are some tips to help you stay safe! If you’ve never been in open water before, make sure you plan and pack accordingly.

First, make sure to check your gear before you go. Bring a half suit to keep you warm in the water. Also, become familiar with the conditions ahead of time. Be proactive by checking for weather and water temperature online, checking the news, or a weather app. This will ensure that you are in warmer waters.

Second, when you go into open water always bring a buddy, or two along with you! It’s important that you never swim in open water by yourself since it can pose a danger to your personal safety. Having a fellow swimmer with you is one way to fulfill this most-basic safety measure. If you encounter an unexpected current, or creature of the deep your friend can help you navigate your way out. Before you go out into the water, walk along the beach with your friend to get to know the area and lifeguards.

Third, get to know what animals and plants exist in the swimming area. Doing so will help you be mindful of Mother Nature’s beauties and dangers. And our last tip: choose to swim where people are! This is usually a good sign that you’re in a safe spot (extra kudos if you pick an area being watched by lifeguards).

Even if you are feeling unafraid of the fickleness of open water, take it easy on your first swim. Gain experience with some easy swims, so that when you meet your first open-water challenge, you can easily get back to safety.

Always remember the number one rule of open water swimming: Never swim alone! If you keep these other rules in mind, you should have fun and empowering open water swims. Good luck out there!

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