Swimming in Cold Water


As we head towards the lower sea temperatures, some swimmers are making a decision on whether to take some time out of the sea or continue with a wetsuit, or in togs.  This is an individual decision and should be made on safety grounds alone.  Don’t just follow a group – your safety is your responsibility.

We’re fortunate that much detailed thought has been given to cold water swimming and hypothermia by Donal Buckley on http://www.loneswimmer.com.  In making a decision on whether to swim through the Winter, everyone should read at least some of his many articles on his chosen specialised subject.  His recommended shortlist of articles to begin with are as follows:

WHY would anyone swim in cold water? 

The Ten Commandments of Cold Water Swimming.

“What temperature of water is too cold to swim in?”

How To – Understanding Mild Hypothermia in swimmers

Cold water and cold immersion shock, the first three minutes.

Ice Mile Dilemmas VIII – The Dangers.

If you want to know more, there are about fifty articles which he has helpfully put in this Index.

Swim Safe.  Swim Responsibly.  Educate yourself.  Remember – Cold Always Wins.

Remembering Tom Bermingham

Two years gone today and missed at the beach every morning. He’d have loved the fine weather we’ve had this September – “Where would you get it?”, he’d have asked.

Great picture of him sharing a laugh with Bernard Lynch. Tom as you would remember him – in Myrtleville and in his element.

Sea Swimming is bad for you. Honest. Stay away.

Conclusive proof in The Times today of something I’ve been saying for ages. People need to stop coming to Myrtleville to swim. It’s cold and it’s bad for you. No doubt about it. Proven in a headline (don’t read the article, just trust me – and the headline).

Do yourself a favour. Go to the pool. No need to be parking in the limited spaces at the top of the slip. No need at all. Bad for you. Cold, too.


There have been two call-outs – yesterday and today – for the Coast Guard to rescue swimmers in Myrtleville.  We have been contacted and asked to make it very clear that while the emergency services are always available to help, each person must make every effort not to create unnecessary emergencies.  The rescuers are also being placed at risk by bad individual decision making. 

Every swimmer must swim only within their own abilities.  If that is five or ten metres off the beach – that’s still sea swimming.  You do not need to go out even to Buoy One or out of your depth.   You should not get into the water or swim any distance simply because someone else is already in there or because you are with others who are going in. 

Each individual swimmer has to take personal responsibility for their own safety and be aware that your actions can cause yourself and others to be put in danger.  If you are in any way unsure of your ability to safely complete a swim – do not attempt the swim.  Be honest with yourself.  Make decisions that are safe for you and do not feel pressurised just because others are doing any particular swim distance.


Rough water exits – or maybe “Just don’t do it”

The sea was rough last week and we’re heading into Winter, when rough water and waves will be much more common.  Swimming in the waves is often touted as great crack – no question. 

Getting in and getting out of the waves is not quite so much fun and is potentially dangerous. 

We’re very lucky in Myrtleville to have a sandy, safe exit most of the time.  There are rocks, and occasionally thick loose seaweed however, and even on sand a wave can hit and flip you very easily.  That’s painful – and dangerous.  Think before you get in and think very hard about how you’ll get out.  It’s too late to do that when you’re in the waves and find the undertow is pulling you out.

Donal Buckley on loneswimmer.com has done a very detailed series on this and I’m going to point everyone there.  However, I’m going to copy a couple of his lines below – just as a summary. 

From loneswimmer.com:

  • You should not be getting into open water before you know where or if you can safely exit.
  • You should not let others decide for you if exit conditions are safe.
  • Alternatively you should not get into the water simply because someone else is already in there.
  • A corollary of these statements is that you should not be getting in the water in anticipation that a safe exit will somehow present itself once you have entered the water.

Swim safe – which can mean “don’t swim today”.  If it looks a bit dodgy to get in, it’ll be a lot worse to get out 🙂

Presentation by Myrtleville Swimmers to RNLI

We were delighted this morning to present €3,700 to Ian Venner of Crosshaven RNLI, the proceeds of the Myrtleville Swimmers Myrtleville to Church Bay Swim. Looking forward to 2023 to make a further contribution. Sincere thanks to everyone who donated, participated, supported and assisted in any way.

Presentation of €3,700 by Damian O'Neill and Bernard Lynch on behalf of Myrtleville Swimmers to Ian Venner of RNLI Crosshaven.
Presentation of €3,700 by Damian O’Neill and Bernard Lynch on behalf of Myrtleville Swimmers to Ian Venner of RNLI Crosshaven.

RNLI Swim – Participant information

Please arrange your travel plans to car pool if it all possible. Be aware of the traffic diversions getting to Church Bay.

Parking in Church Bay and in Myrtleville will be very limited. Work with the stewards. Parking is available in the Rugby Club at the top of the hill in Myrtleville.


In response to a number of enquiries – NO, you can not just give your entry to a friend and we can not facilitate transfers. There is a good reason we ask for an emergency contact on each entry. Think about the consequences if the wrong contact details are on our records in the event of an emergency.

Please, people, you will be donating €20 to the RNLI by cancelling your entry if you are unable to attend. A fake transfer to your buddy is not the way to go. Don’t have a situation where you arrive at the registration desk and use someone else’s name to get a timing chip. Really? For €20?

If you are determined to be involved on the night and don’t have an entry we really need more volunteers to help. Get involved that way.