Christmas Swim Challenge Health and Safety Tips

Health & Safety Tips

Take on the challenge

Go for a swim at any time over the Christmas season and raise money for our life-saving research.

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Preparing for your challenge

If you are doing the challenge in open water (such as in the sea), never undertake this challenge alone. Please enjoy this challenge with others who can assist you should it be required. Always be aware of your location and take your mobile phone to wherever you are doing your swim.

Check local advice and choose your location carefully. Seek out locations which are familiar to you. Ensure it is safe for you to get in the water, and you can exit easily.

This challenge is entirely at your own risk, so please assess your ability and safety before you participate. Cancer Research UK shall not be liable for any injury, damage or loss to you or your property that might occur as a result of your participation.

If you have underlying health conditions (i.e. heart disease, asthma, lung conditions) or any other medical conditions that might be affected by exposure to cold water, or if you are pregnant, then please seek appropriate medical advice before proceeding.

Do not take part in the challenge under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

The minimum age for participation is 16. Anyone under this age should not undertake the Christmas Swim Challenge.

Plan your swim for daylight hours and avoid swimming in the dark.

During your challenge

Approach the challenge sensibly and don’t go beyond your capability levels.

Wear brightly coloured clothes, and a bright swim cap if possible so you can be easily spotted. It will also help you retain body heat while in the water.

You may also like to wear a wetsuit, which would aid buoyancy and make you feel more comfortable in the water. Neoprene boots and gloves are also a good addition to ensure your hands and feet do not get too cold.  

Always enter the water slowly and avoid jumping in as this could cause cold water shock.

Only go into water as far as you can stand. Don’t put yourself in unnecessary danger by going into deep water.  

Start small, build up gradually, and never go beyond your comfort zone.

Seek help immediately if you feel very cold, woozy, nauseous, disorientated, dizzy or faint.

After your challenge

Warm up gradually after getting out of the water, dry yourself off and put on warm, dry layers.

Avoid standing around, have a warm drink and move to a warm location.

To complete the challenge, we’re asking you to complete one cold water swim. However, your safety is paramount, so please don’t go beyond your capability level. 

The minimum age for participation is 16. Anyone under this age should not undertake the Christmas Swim Challenge.

Please wear a swim cap during your challenge to help retain body heat. You may also like to wear other items of clothing, such as a wetsuit to aid buoyancy and make you more comfortable in the water. If in the outdoors (sea, loch, lake, etc) we recommend neoprene gloves and booties.  Ultimately you should wear what you are comfortable with. More guidance around equipment and clothing when swimming in open water can be found via the external online sources mentioned below.

There are many online sources which provide advice on entering open water. Please find a number of trusted sources below. You must take responsibility for your own safety and ensure that comply with all guidance when swimming in open water. Your safety is the number one priority, so if you have any concerns, please do not enter the water.