7 tips for novice sea swimmers

Posted on 30 August 2017

I recently completed a swimming course so that I could enjoy the beach fully, beyond a walk on the shore. After learning to float and developing a pattern for arm strokes and feet paddling, the only thing to do was practice. A swim in the ocean was my final step to gaining full confidence in the water.

The September issue of Getaway Magazine features 11 of the best beach cottages in the country where you can enjoy fantastic sea swimming within walking distance.


Many routinely head out for a swim along the backline in Durban, armed with short fins as they swim amongst the surfers. Photo by Teagan Cunniffe.


Tips for swimming in the sea

1. Make sure the weather conditions are good before you swim.

2. Do not swim alone, but always within sight of other people, ideally lifeguards.

3. Read the beach notice-boards for lifeguard schedules and other useful safety information, such as sections of the water considered unsafe.

4. It is better to get into the water quickly (run if you must) and start swimming immediately instead of slowly entering the water. Your recovery from loss of body heat will be quicker.

5. As you swim, locate the sun, mountains and other visible high points to gauge your distance from the shore. However, minimise the amount of time you look around by doing it quickly, within one stroke, and occasionally. You’ll also get a better perspective at the crest of a wave.

6. Straight-arm recovery after each stroke is more efficient when swimming in the sea than the bent-arm recovery often recommended for pools.

7. When you’re tired or panic starts to kick in, float on your back and look up. You’ll calm down and prepare mentally to get back into the groove.

Also read: 10 great swimming spots around Cape Town


Welcome Lishivha (right) playing in the Ocean in Mozambique with bonafide Wildman and National Geographic Presenter, Andy Coetzee (left). Photo by Tyson Jopson.


Learn to swim here

Cape Town
Simply Swimming, 0217979375,

The Roberts Swimming Academy,
0312016484, find it on Facebook

MySwim Swimming School,
0114629607, myswim.co.za

Port Elizabeth
Aquarius Swim School, 0835533565,


Read more in the September Getaway issue.

Get this issue →

Our September issue features 11 amazing beach cottages, two ways to see the Klein Karoo, a windswept 4X4 drive in Namibia, our guide to swimming in Greece and much more!


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