Outdoor Swimming Society members were invited as guests to the webinar of the Visitor Safety Group (landowner body), at the launch of its Open Water Swimming guidance 8 July 2021, and I was invited to speak about the Outdoor Swimmers Code and to chair a breakout room on landowners engaging with swimmers. This is the presentation I delivered.
The VSG Open Water Swimming guidance is introduced on their website, with the full document available to VSG members or subscribers. It is based on the Visitor Safety Group Guiding Principles, which are a basis for members to enable access and adventure on their land without unnecessary barriers that keep people as safe as is practical and appropriate.
Summary: The Outdoor Swimming Society has seen a rise in membership and swimmers. It provides information to new swimmers and visitors and promotes responsible swimming in return for access to places to swim. The Outdoor Swimmers Code https://www.outdoorswimmingsociety.com/outdoor-swimmers-code/ outlines how swimmers can take responsibility for their own safety, consider others, respect the environment, and work with landowners to help with issues and to spread the message. There are many examples of swimmers working alongside local landowners to promote responsibility and safety, and in practical ways.
Contact info and links on last slide
Outdoor Swimming Society
Outdoor Swimmers Code, https://www.outdoorswimmingsociety.com/outdoor-swimmers-code/
OSS Inland Access team, firstname.lastname@example.org
Imogen Radford, Inland Access Officer, Outdoor Swimming Society, imogen36[at]googlemail.com. See Issues pages on this website.
Visitor Safety Group Guiding Principles https://www.visitorsafety.group/principles/guiding-principles/
And here is the VSG guidance, launched on the day, and introduced on their website, https://www.visitorsafety.group/topic-guidance/open-water-swimming/,
Photos mostly by Imogen Radford, those on OSS website credited there; slide 7, #RespecttheWater, from https://nationalwatersafety.org.uk/respectthewater; slides 4 and 15 by Owen Hayman taken at reservoirs. See Sixteen reasons why we need UK-wide swimming access in reservoirs.
Other useful links
Outdoor Swimming Society guide to access to inland access, with advice for landowners & managers, and anyone who wants to see more swimming in lakes, rivers, and other inland waters, and waters. Read about and download the OSS Guide to Inland Bathing Areas, https://www.outdoorswimmingsociety.com/access-all-areas/ I have pulled together the legal issues in more detail, in this Page on the website, ww.imogensriverswims.co.uk/blog/issues/landowner-liability-and-swimmers/.