Open water swimming has become increasingly popular over the last few years - whether it's a way to get out and enjoy the countryside, explore new areas or just to cool down.

We love it for all of the reasons listed.

It is however really important to enjoy open water swimming, or wild swimming, safely - wherever you are.

As we head to the weekend and look for various ways to stay cool - please remember that if you are heading towards open water please be safe. Unfortunately there have been too many tragic stories in the press of people not getting into trouble in, and around open water.

Open water swimming is very different to swimming in a pool - in that if you do not do it regularly the body can find the lower temperatures a bit of a shock. It is is this shock that can mean people can get into trouble.

Being able to tread water comfortably is invaluable when wild swimming

Shannon and I love open water or wild swimming, however, we have been doing it for many years.

With this in mind - a few tips to remain safe.

Swim with friends and preferably at an location with lifeguards

1. Only enter open water if you are comfortable swimmer and can tread water keeping your head above water, can you swim at least 25 meters, swim when you are out of your depth.

2. Don't swim alone.

3. Stay together, close, in case your partner needs help.

4. Check entry / exist points before you get in the water AND also when you are in the water. Exist points look different from in the water.

5. Enter the water slowly - to get used to the temperature

6. Enter the water slowly - to avoid contact with objects beneath the surface or on the bottom.

7. Use a tow float so that people can see you, and if you need to, it can also provide floatation support.

8. Ideally swim where there are life guards or people watching should you need support.

Tow float increases your visibility in the water and can be used to help float if needed (thought it's not designed for that)

Trust yourself - if something doesn't look, smell or feel right then don't get in the water.

Please stay safe wherever you are swimming.

Whatever your tonic - please remember to do it safely.