3 things to remember for open water swimming | Great Lakes Guide

People and the Lakes

3 things to remember for open water swimming

Published August 17, 2018

In Great Lakes cities, you don't have to wander far to find somewhere to swim. With thousands of kilometers of shoreline along the Great Lakes, the opportunity for open water swimming is all around you.

Here are three things to remember for open water swimming:


Check the water quality for your beach

Water quality changes daily, so remember to check it before starting your swim. Knowing the water quality helps protect you from exposure to bacteria and waterborne illnesses. Using Swim Guide makes it easy to stay informed. You can even download the Swim Guide app on your mobile devices and check water quality as you go.


Swim with a friend

Open water swimming can be a social activity and swimming with a friend improves your safety. Invite a friend to travel beside you on a paddleboard, kayak or canoe. Your friend can help keep you on course and give you a chance to take a break if needed.


Know the area

Learn about the area you’d like to swim in. Is there boat traffic? Do lifeguards supervise the water? Are there any stormwater outlets nearby? Can you spot any wildlife? Knowing these details about your swimming route will enhance your open water swimming experience and keep you safe.

Open water swimming has long been part of Lake Ontario’s history.

In fact, Swim Drink Fish ambassador Marilyn Bell became the first person to swim across the lake in 1954. Staying connected with the Great Lakes will help guide us to a swimmable, drinkable, fishable future.

In a recent IJC poll, 89 per cent of participants said they believe protecting the Great Lakes for recreation is important. Swimming builds our connection with the water.

Yes, nature is ‘out there’ but it’s also right here. So jump into your local waterbody and experience the benefits of open water swimming.

Ready to take the plunge?

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