Survival Swimming Clothes

The clothes shown here are convenient for survival swimming in open water and will protect you on the beach against rocks, pebbles, sunburn and wind chill. Wear at least one layer of clothing, maybe the outer layer, just to be safe.

Be Visible

Wear brightly coloured swimming clothes and a hat or hood so you can be seen by fast moving traffic. Lifeguard uniforms are easy to swim in as they are designed to be worn for water rescues.

Swim with whatever whatever clothes you feel comfortable in. Just make sure they don't interfere with your swimming ability. Gain experience by swimming in different types of clothes like tee-shirt, sweatshirt, trousers or jeans, anorak or windproof rain suit.

Waterproof clothes are the most practical outfit as they dry quickly, don't weigh much and protect you from wind chill. Depending on their design they hold more or less water when swimming. You can find all sorts of robust and inexpensive training gear in army surplus stores.

Some swimmers like to wear boots or socks, neoprene balaclava hats and wet suits, especially in colder weather if they want to spend more time in the water.

Keep Warm

Always start a session in dry kit. If you plan several swimming sessions, you need need a bit more gear as it is not nice to put on clammy cold clothes after a warm-up break. Remember to bring a change of dry clothes for your way home.

Survival Swimming Kit

Swimmers should bring three unlined clothing layers (base, middle, outer), as used in canoeing, coasteering, sailing or other adventure sports. High visibility clothes would be an advantage. The following equipment is needed by each swimmer for proper survival swimming sessions:

This will get wet:
  • T-shirts (long and short sleeves).
  • Hoodie, sweatshirt or pullover.
  • Trousers, cargo pants or jeans.
  • Anorak and rain pants, or coverall.
  • Trainers or sports shoes and socks.
  • Poncho as shelter and changing room.
  • Sleeping mat as float and for sitting on.
  • Rucksack with three large heavy-duty plastic bags
    (for food, spare clothing and sleeping bag).
This should be kept dry in waterproof bags:
  • A large beach towel
  • Plenty to eat and drink.
  • Sleeping bag and mat (mission-dependent).
  • Dry clothes and shoes to change into afterwards.

Full Survival Gear

You should wear full gear during training and testing unless otherwise instructed. "Full gear" means two long sleeve tops, trousers, socks and boots, and a helmet where required.

A waterproofed rucksack can be used as a flotation device. A sleeping bag and sleeping mat should be externally attached to the rucksack in a way that it stays dry, but is optional, depending of your training objectives.