Swimming in natural water: 6 tips


What should you pay attention to when you take a dive? Radar gives 6 tips.

Tip 1: Only swim at official swimming locations

Only enter the water in areas that are officially designated as swimming locations with Lifeguard Pretest. water, the water boards and provinces have assessed these locations as safe. The official swimming spots can be found on Zwemwater.nl or via the Sweetwater app for iPhone and Android .

Tip 2: Check the quality of the bathing water

The water quality of the official swimming locations is regularly checked during the bathing season (1 May to 1 October). Before you go swimming, check the most recent quality measurement. You can also do this via Zwemwater.nl or the Sweetwater app. At the official swimming spots there are also signs with the water quality and any safety warnings (also read: Signs at outdoor swimming locations – what do they mean? ).

Tip 3: Never go swimming in a thunderstorm

In the water, your head is often the highest point, so you have a greater chance of being hit by lightning. Never go swimming during a thunderstorm. Are you on the coast? Then don’t just get out of the sea, but also get off the beach. On the sand you can also be the highest point in the area.

Tip 4: Watch out for pathogens

Fresh and salt water can contain various pathogens. Always check Zwemwater.nl and the signs at the swimming locations for warnings for disease processors and never enter the water with such a warning.

Beware of:

blue-green algae. The best-known pathogens in fresh and salt water are blue-green algae: bacteria that can cause eye and skin irritations, stomach and intestinal complaints and headaches. Do you suffer from these complaints during or after swimming? Then rinse off in the shower as soon as possible. Due to the drought of recent weeks , the risk of blue-green algae is greater , Minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen warned.

Swimmer’s Itch . Is your body covered in red, itchy bumps after a swim in fresh water? Chances are you have swimmer’s itch. The culprits are larvae that penetrate your skin. The larvae die immediately, but can still cause itching for up to 12 hours. The more often you get swimmer’s itch, the longer the symptoms will last. If you feel itchy while swimming, move to the side and rinse well in the shower.

Weil’s disease. Freshwater can contain rats that spread Weil’s disease. This infectious disease can also infect people via mucous membranes or small wounds. Only after 5 to 14 days do the symptoms appear: headache and muscle pain, fever, skin rash and a stiff neck. Weil’s disease can eventually affect your liver and kidneys, causing jaundice.

Tip 5: Watch out for ocean currents, wind and jellyfish when you swim in the sea

The lifeguards place flags at the guarded parts of a beach to indicate whether it is safe to swim (also read: Beach flags – which means what? ). These flags mainly warn against strong sea currents and/or wind.

Also be aware that you can be joined by jellyfish in the North Sea. Before your beach visit, you can check on Kwallenradar.nl whether there are many jellyfish near the coast that day. Most jellyfish are harmless, but translucent specimens with a cross on the head and colored species with many tentacles can sting. A jellyfish bite is especially annoying: the spot itches and swells.

Tip 6: Don’t swim in rivers and canals

water advises against swimming in rivers and canals. It is also really prohibited in shipping channels and at bridges, locks and ports. Dozens of people die every year in swimming accidents in rivers and canals.

Swimming in rivers and canals is dangerous for several reasons. For example, skippers often cannot see swimmers and cannot swerve at the last minute. Swimmers further underestimate the power of a ship’s undertow, which can suck you under the vessel. Currents in rivers and canals are unpredictable at all and can be very strong.

The temperature of the water also varies considerably. You can get cramps in suddenly colder parts. You are then less able to cope with currents and you can become hypothermic.


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