Open Water Swimming

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The sandy beach in Lyme Regis has always been popular with sea swimmers, but since lockdown a huge wave of enthusiasts have taken the plunge in one of the most beautiful coastal swimming spots in the UK.

Lyme Regis boasts stunning coastal views and relatively (but not always!) calm seas, making it the perfect place to indulge in the joys of open water sea swimming.

As with any sea-based activity, never leave your common sense on shore as going for a swim in cold, open water can be exhilarating, but it’s not without risk. You should always swim safely and respect the sea and if it’s your first time open water swimming follow these tips from Lyme Regis harbourmaster and the RNLI:

  • From the North wall of the Cobb across the main sandy beach to Church Cliff there is a swim line marked with yellow buoys with an orange buoy to indicate the end of the swim line. The safest place to swim is between the swim buoy line and the shore to avoid motor vessels, yachts and dinghies.
  • Do not swim across the Harbour mouth, or in the Harbour or pontoon area as this is a busy commercial harbour in constant use.
  • Be aware of rocks and reefs on a low tide including Monmouth and Church Cliff.
  • There is often a westward drift, so on swimming back towards the Cobb swim in to shore a little to compensate.
  • Acclimatise to cold water slowly and enter gradually to reduce the risk of cold water shock.
  • Check weather and tide times before you go, avoid swimming in dangerous conditions.
  • Take a means for calling for help in a waterproof phone pouch and have this on you at all times.
  • If you see someone in trouble, call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.
  • Wear a brightly coloured hat plus a tow float for increased visibility.
  • Always swim parallel to the shore and not straight out. Cold water, waves and currents can tire you out quickly and make it harder to return to shore.
  • Never swim under the influence of alcohol.
  • The safest way is to swim with others or join a local group.
  • Swim between the red and yellow flags on a lifeguarded beach (From July to September RNLI Lifeguards are in attendance on the sandy beach).

One of Lyme’s fastest-growing tribes is the Blue Tits, a hardy, sociable and occasionally goosepimply crowd who day in, day out, even in the deepest depths of winter, are plunging into the chilly waters of Lyme Bay. For many, wild swimming in Lyme Regis is a transformational experience, there’s a lot of articles out there already about the virtues from a health and mental health point of view, but for many it isn’t just about feeling the cool thrill of the sea, it’s about meeting people too. 

Open Water Swimming