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GenaG
June 26th, 2013, 11:15 AM
New to swimming, been practicing with my local masters group for about 6 weeks and am slow but fairly strong.

Finally have a vacation planned! When I'm at the beach, I'd like to keep up my workouts in the ocean. How do lifeguards take to fitness swimmers? Am I going to get the whistle for crossing over jetties or going out further than most?

Any etiquette i should know?

Thanks!

Rob Copeland
June 26th, 2013, 12:16 PM
At guarded beaches, explain to the lifeguard what you are looking to do and ask the guard what is permissible.

Hi my name is Rob. Im a Masters Swimmer and Id like to swim about 3 miles up and down the beach. Is this okay? How far off shore can I swim? Are there any any areas I should avoid?

Personally I will swim close to shore, just a few yards beyond the the bathing public. I never cross an inlet without an escort boat. I generally wont swim around fishing jetty or piers; I use them as turnaround points. I start my swim into the current or waves. And I try not to swim when or where the sharks are feeding.

jroddin
June 26th, 2013, 01:15 PM
New to swimming, been practicing with my local masters group for about 6 weeks and am slow but fairly strong.

Finally have a vacation planned! When I'm at the beach, I'd like to keep up my workouts in the ocean. How do lifeguards take to fitness swimmers? Am I going to get the whistle for crossing over jetties or going out further than most?

Any etiquette i should know?

Thanks!

I had a somewhat funny experience with this in Delaware sometime in the 1990s (when I was foolish and was a distance swimmer). I started in Dewey beach and headed north to the end of Rehoboth and was headed back to Dewey. Rehoboth has jetties every few hundred feet or so, so I swam just past each jetty to pass but would then go back closer to shore until the next jetty. Anyway, on my way back there is a bobbing lifeguard waiting for me at some point. He told me swimmers may not cross between jetty areas (except by getting out and going back in). I said, "but I just swam past all of the jetties and I'm on my way back." He said, "I know - I saw you. But by the time I would have swum out you would have been past my area so I let you go. But when I saw you coming back..."

Then something odd happened. The water had been quite cold (for me, not for RobC) and after just a couple minutes of walking on the beach I started shaking uncontrollably (mind you I only had my cap and goggles and a speedo). What I later learned was I was hypothermic and when I got out of the water the blood returned to my finger tips and toes, losing heat to the environment and then going back to my central organs and dropping my core body temperature. By pure stroke of luck former summer league parents recognized me, got me in a towel and eventually drove me back to Dewey.

What's the moral of the story? Focus on the 100 IM instead... :)

GenaG
June 26th, 2013, 02:10 PM
jroddin, what an experience. Glad you got a ride back!

That's kinda what I expected - I know about the jetties. I'd rather not get out to go around or swim back and forth, but I guess it's not too different than in a pool. Maybe back and forth in front of one lifeguard is a good option.

After nicely introducing myself first! And looking out for dining sharks!

Kevin in MD
July 7th, 2013, 02:27 PM
How do lifeguards take to fitness swimmers? Am I going to get the whistle for crossing over jetties or going out further than most?
Thanks!

Not sure where you are going but last weekend I swam from Bethany to South Bethany and back, there are guards the whole way. I think it is a mile or so each way. They were fine, no jetties to speak of.

The wind does pick up out there every afternoon and your into the wind sections will be a little rough, good practice for open water races.

mjtyson
July 14th, 2013, 07:14 PM
When I was down on the Atlantic coast of FL for business, I swam in the Atlantic daily. The beach didn't have a lifeguard, and for that matter, it being November, it was too "cold" for most.

Etiquette-wise, I made sure I wore a very bright cap (red) and if there were others out there (thinking motorized craft), I waved to them to make sure they knew I was there. This became important on a particularly wavy day when a kite-surfer was out. As he got closer, I stopped swimming and yelled to him, to let him know to watch out for me.

I do this same thing at my regular lake where motorboats zoom by. Bright cap and wave to them, so they know there is a swimmer in the water.

Have fun! Nothing like swimming OW. No walls, no flip-turns!