Are you planning on taking a dip in Plymouth Sound National Marine Park? There is no better place (in our opinion) to enjoy the natural benefits of the sea, with stunning surroundings close by and a variety of places to explore.

However, it is imperative that you look after yourself while out on the water, whatever the weather.

If you are planning to head out on the waves, ask yourself these 6 questions every time before you set off.

1. Are the sea and weather conditions safe for me to swim in?

Always check the weather forecast before you head out and most crucially remember the phrase – ‘If in doubt, don’t go out.’

2. Am I familiar with this area of water?

It is essential that you are aware of the surroundings of the area you are about to swim in. Take into account the impacts of the swells, currents, tide times, and shipping lanes. The impacts of the swell, current, tide, shipping. You can view all of this information by visiting the Water Safety page on the Plymouth Sound National Marine Park Website.

3. Do I understand cold water and its effects on the body? Any body of water that is below 15°C is defined as cold water and can seriously affect your breathing and movement when submersed. You can find the sea temperature for wherever you are swimming by downloading the ‘Day For It ‘ app for your phone.

4. Does anyone know where I am? Ensure you let people know where you are swimming and when you plan to be finished.

5. Can I see my entry and exit point clearly? Fairly simple this one, if you can’t see your entry and exit points clearly then move location. It is vital that you can see and access these points at all times so for in the instance of an emergency you can head there as soon as possible.

6. Can I been seen to other water users? Being visible at all times on the water is a must. That is because if there were to be an emergency, you are more likely to be seen if you are wearing visible apparatus. Moreover, it means that other swimmers and water users can see you. Examples of visible swimming equipment include a tow float and a swim hat.