How warm does the water have to be for outdoor swimming?

PWTAG Technical notes are updates or new material for the standards and guidance given in the PWTG book, Swimming Pool Water and the PWTAG Code of practice and should be read in association with these publications.

This was a question asked of PWTAG recently. The short answer is that there are no authoritative guidelines, as there are for indoor pools and spas. And of course, outdoor swimming can mean ponds, rivers, the sea… It can include wet suits. But here are some rough guidelines.

Swimming in water that is freezing, or even up to 10°C, need a little care. The water may bite, the skin smart and burn. Limbs can become weak and swimming 25 metres quite an achievement.


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