Cold Water Dip

Get Prepared

Dipping into cold water is a brrrilliant and exhilarating experience - as long as you do it safely.

Before the swim

Practise! Turn your shower colder and colder to get used to the feeling. You only need to do it for a minute or two to start getting familiar with how it feels to be in cold water. 

You can also practice in safe outdoor swimming spots such as Clevedon Marine Lake, West Country Water Park, or at the Portishead Open Air Pool ahead of the big dip. Portishead run cold water sessions in their unheated pool every weekend morning throughout November and their friendly team will be on hand to advise and support you.

On the day

  • Have a good breakfast/lunch to be properly fuelled! Don't drink alcohol the night before - or on the morning of the dip! Alcohol lowers your body temperature and impairs your judgement. A hangover also makes getting into cold water more difficult. 
  • Bring warm, dry clothes to wear while waiting before and to get changed into after the dip, with lots of layers and even a blanket.
  • Acclimatise slowly - Slowly remove your layers while still on dry land, to gradually get your body used to being cold. Lower yourself in carefully and start with slowly walking in the shallow end before gently swimming. No jumping in allowed!
  • Understand your limit and don't overstay in the water - yes half the battle is challenging yourself to overcome the urge to get out straight away! But listen to your body, and make sure you get out of the water when it becomes too much. Lifeguards will be on hand and will advise if they feel you've been in for too long, and there is a 15 minute maximum - we guarantee you won't want to stay that long anyway!
  • If you take a step into the water and feel you can't do it, don't worry - we'll have some wetsuits on hand to help make you more comfortable, kindly donated by SUP Bristol. They won't be thick winter ones, but they'll be an extra layer to help you out if you find it's needed.
  • Warm up slowly after you get out - pat yourself dry and get all cold, wet clothes off before putting on your dry laters. There are also hot tubs you can dip into.

Woman swimming in a cold pool