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Swimming Lessons for Survival

Swimming Lessons: a life-long vaccination against drowning

Good swimming lessons have an informal atmosphere where the swimmers are dressed casually, not wearing swim caps or hydrodynamic swimsuits; sit together as a group cheering on other swimmers when they aren't in the pool themselves.

For most activities like sailing, canoeing, kite surfing or adventure racing, you'll wear more than just a pair of shorts. During many watersports you often have to swim in clothes.

Whether you're experienced in many watersports, or simply want to do something different on your holidays, you should be able to swim at least 50 metres fully clothed, just in case. Come prepared to get soaked and have a lot of fun swimming in your boating kit.

Swimming in clothes is an essential skill for most watersports because a good soaking is often part of their appeal. When your boat capsizes, or you fall in, or you decide to go for a spontaneous swim, you will get soaked, voluntarily or not.

While safety precautions should be taken, the nature of watersports recommends that you wear attire which reduces the possibility of mishap. It is all part of the adventure. Great fun when practised often. You will get quite fit over time doing this.

Essential Safety Skill for Watersports

Swimming is an enjoyable fun sport, but the main purpose is to help you survive an emergency. With fun and games, beginners learn about water safety, the basic swimming strokes, how to build fitness, and help keep others safe in and around the water. Once you've mastered this, you can enjoy watersports and other wet fun activities without worry.

Water Test

Swimming lessons come in different stages and levels, from easy for beginners to tough survival lessons. A water test helps assess your swimming ability and suggests areas of improvement. You want to be confident in the water with your head above and below.


Essential skills like swimming in a variety of clothes can be mixed with games and challenges, designed to improve your swimming and water confidence. Your instructor should be in the water, right with you for coaching and safety.

Regular Training Sessions

With regular swim training you can prepare and get very fit. We recommed 2-3 swim sessions a week for resistance swim training. Alternate this 2-3 times a week with endurance swimming just in your sleek swimsuit. Swim about 200-400 meters in each session. Notice how your clothes slow you down and how exhausted you get. The more you train, the longer you last.


Once you're familiar with your watersports kit, vary your training out more and more to keep it interesting. Try clothes for other watersports, add webbed gloves or flippers. Once you've tried all the watersports kit, switch to casual clothes like hoodies and jeans over a comfy base layer. See what differece all these clothes make to your swimming ability. This may save your life one day.

Reader Stories

Water Safety

by Martin, from Osaka, Japan

As part of an exchange programme for swimming and lifesaving teachers I went to Osaka to observe and participate in their swimming classes.

This session was focused on water safety. The students are asked to bring some spare clothes, and each had an opportunity to ‘fall’ into the water with their clothes on. They were all so surprised at how much heavier they felt when they came out of the water.

Students were led through several different exercises including somersaults, back floats with life jackets on, and proper safety steps to take before you jump into the water.

It was a unique class that the students really enjoyed. We are halfway through our swimming classes and are already so impressed with the improvements in strength and confidence we are seeing in the students. Keep it up, lifesavers!

Fitness Swim Training

by Andy, Brisbane, Australia

Last summer the local pool ran fitness swimming sessions with strength training. This caught my attention as I wanted to shape up. They asked to bring T-shirt, long pants, and a hoodie that can get wet.

The training was very intense. We had to swim fully clothed the whole time, alternating endurance lengths with heavy push-ups. Over the summer I build up good muscles and fitness level. Now I always swim fully clothed to stay fit.

hoodie in the pool
hoodie in the pool