Open Water Swimming Safety First

Open Water Swimming Safety First

When it comes to open water safety, there are races that cover the bases: onshore medical staff and spotters, adequate kayaks and watercraft, radio communication among all the staff, a body count before the swimmers enter the water, an ongoing body count during the race, an intelligent use of buoys and the natural environment, clear pre-race communications before the start, easy-to-understand instructions to the athletes, and a wise utilization of spectators.

The Pirates Week 5K race, organized by the Flowers Family, is one such race.

Have an adequate number of watercraft on the course and safety personnel onshore observing the field from different vantage points.


Have safety personnel on fast-moving watercraft (surf skiis or inflatable rubber boat) and marshals along the course with radio communications.

Hire a constantly moving race director with radio communications and post hydration stations or Swim Angels along the course.


Use large buoys with different colors for turns and intermediate guidance buoys. Go to Open Water Source for more information and photos.

Copyright © 2010 by Steven Munatones