Travelers should always be very careful when swimming on international trips. This is especially true in places where emergency response may not be reliable, or where lifeguards may not be common. As a visitor, you may also be unfamiliar with rivers or coastal areas that have swift and dangerous currents, especially in places where signage is limited.
Keep in mind that water conditions may change quickly depending on weather conditions, even in areas where swimming is common. It’s important to do your research, and be clear about your swimming abilities. If you do choose to swim during your time abroad, take these important tips into consideration:
- Learn how to manage rip currents, a very common water danger.
- Never swim alone, and develop a safety plan with your fellow swimmers.
- Heed all warning signs, flags and lifeguard instructions.
- When possible, only swim in designated areas with clear warning systems.
- Do not swim where no lifeguards are present.
- Do not consume alcohol before swimming.
- Never dive head-first into an unfamiliar body of water.
- Only swim in areas that you have discussed with your program provider or other responsible party on-site.
- Wear a life jacket.