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braving it

First time Christmas Day swimming? Here's some must-read advice...

Braving the waters today? Be careful out there — and never ever drink and swim.

IT USED TO be the preserve of only a hardy few.

But the tradition of the annual Christmas Day swim has been steadily gaining popularity in recent years.

Case in point — the scene at the 40 Foot in, near Dun Laoghaire in Dublin this day last year.

A clear, bright day brought the crowds out in force — and people had to form queues in their swimming togs and Santa hats, before being allowed to hurl themselves into the icy waters…

mrwacman89 / YouTube

Similar events are being held at locations all over the country — as sea-swimming veterans and determined newbies line-up to immerse themselves in the frigid depths.

With that in mind, here’s some advice from our friends at Irish Water Safety.

What-ever your experience level — it never hurts to take heed of what the experts have to say…

Laura Hutton / Photocall Ireland Laura Hutton / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

1. If you’re organising a charity swim, make sure to give the details to your local Coast Guard unit or the Gardaí.

2. Appoint a ‘safety officer’ to oversee the event, and who will have the ultimate responsibility for deciding if it swim can go ahead.

Laura Hutton / Photocall Ireland Laura Hutton / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

3. Don’t take a chance on running the swim if the weather deteriorates — defer it to a different day.

4. It is a fallacy that alcohol will keep you warm when entering the water; in fact it has the reverse effect and could well kill you. IWS says it “strongly recommends that no alcohol be taken either before the swim or after the swim”.

Mark Stedman / Photocall Ireland Mark Stedman / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

5. “Make sure you have safe access and exit points from the water”… In other words, don’t thoughtlessly throw yourself into the sea without a plan for how to get out!

6. And the final word of advice: “Swimmers’ remaining in the water for extended periods in a gesture of bravado is not acceptable. The message is ‘Get In, Get Out and Warm Up’.”

Let’s be careful out there…

In pictures: Braving the cold at the 40 foot on Christmas Day

Read: The shipping container house that was built in three days over the weekend 

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