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Safe Swimming Rules and Registration

Swimming in open water can be a euphoric experience with a sense of freedom and connection not found in other sports however there are dangers and things to be aware of and things to avoid, so to help keep you and others safe and enhance the enjoyment of your swim please familiarise yourself with our rules and safety considerations and adhere to them at all times. They also form the basis of our Terms and Conditions of swimming in the Lake.

To keep you safe and well while swimming at Bray Lake, all swimmers will be required to agree to our Terms and Conditions which includes a waiver, and is valid for a year. You will be required to renew annually. Click below to register.

Register here

Remember all swimmers enter the water at their own risk

Each time you swim at Bray Lake, you must sign in at the Swim Reception (being the signing in desk located at or near the club house at Bray Lake) before entering the water. Upon registration, you will be provided with a numbered rubber band. This band must be worn at all times whilst in the water, either on your wrist or ankle.

Upon exiting the water, you must immediately return the numbered band.

People who have never swum in open water before must make themselves known to the Swim Reception. We recommend that first time open water swimmers are accompanied by an experienced open water swimmer.

  • All swimmers must be competent of swimming 250m unassisted.
  • Please enter and exit the water at the specified place and stay within the designated swim route unless instructed otherwise by a staff member of Bray Lake Watersports.
  • Do not dive or jump in from the start/finish pontoon as the water may be too shallow and cause injury.
  • We recommend that you wear suitable swim goggles and a brightly coloured swim hat whilst in the water to help you see and for us to see you.
  • You must swim in an anti-clockwise direction to help avoid collisions. Please be aware of other swimmers and avoid entering into their space.
  • Not everyone swims at the same speed. Be aware of slower swimmers and swim clear of anyone slower than you. Anyone swimming aggressively and swimming into or over others will be asked to leave. If you accidentally swim into someone please make sure they are ok and apologise.
  • When turning around buoys do not swim over other swimmers, swim wide if there are swimmers in front of you.
  • If you wish to stop for a break while swimming or to stop to speak with another swimmer, please do not stop on the swimming routes – instead move just outside of the swimming routes to ensure you do not obstruct other swimmers whilst at the same time still staying in full view of the Safety Tower (being the wooden tower located next to the swim entrance).

We recommend that you wear a wetsuit to aid buoyancy, retain body heat and protect you from water borne infection. If you decide not to wear a wetsuit be aware that this can increase the risks associated with open water swimming and it is done purely at your own risk.

If a problem occurs during your swim session, roll on to your back and signal for help by shouting for attention and, if safe to do so, raise an arm in the air to signal for rescue. If possible, swim to one of the Swim marker buoys and hold onto the straps under the buoy.

Please be alert for any other swimmers who may be having difficulty. Do not be afraid to ask if a swimmer needs help.

Stay Well

Open water is great for your health, fitness and mental wellbeing however it is important that whenever you swim in open water that you remember that it is not a swimming pool and it can be affected by seasonal changes and by outside contaminants that could affect your health. Make sure you always assess the water and ask about any known risks.

Be aware open water may not be of bathing quality and may contain contamination and pollution from farming or industrial run off or be affected by seasonal influences like naturally occurring algae and insects. It is also important to remember that if you suffer from asthma that during periods of warm dry calm weather that dust and pollen collecting on the surface may cause you an issue.

It is important therefore that you: -

  1. Do not swim or enter the water if feeling unwell
  2. Cover cuts, scratches and sores with a waterproof plaster before swimming
  3. Consider wearing appropriate protective clothing such as a wetsuit, gloves and / or protective footwear
  4. Whilst you are swimming, try to avoid swallowing and/or splashing water into your mouth
  5. After swimming, ensure you wash your body and in particular clean your hands thoroughly with soap and water and before handling/eating food
  6. Thoroughly clean cuts or abrasions using soap and water after exiting the water
  7. Clean and rinse your wetsuit, goggles and other swimming equipment after use.

If you become ill after swimming, immediately seek medical help and let them know you have been open water swimming. Please also immediately notify Bray Lake Watersports.

After every swim session we get left with wetsuits, drinking bottles, hats, gloves and clothing. Please take full responsibility for your belongings. We recommend that you put your contact details on anything you don’t want us to throw away.


Open water swimming is only suitable for competent swimmers and in the case of children under 16 years of age, it is recommended that children be at least club standard swimmers.

Children under 16 years of age are only permitted to swim if they:

  1. can swim unaided continuously for at least 250m; and
  2. are accompanied by an adult at all times, while swimming, unless an exemption is provided by Bray Lake Watersports; and
  3. swim the short loops, 400m being the longest loop permitted unless exemption is provided by Bray Lake Watersports; and
  4. wear a swimming wetsuit while swimming unless an exemption is provided by Bray Lake Watersports.

An exemption under limbs (b), (c) and (d) above will only be provided if the swimmer’s swim squad coach provides a letter confirming the swimmers swimming ability which is to the satisfaction of the Bray Lake Watersports management or the child passes a swim test to the satisfaction of Bray Lake Watersports management.

You can download a copy of the Swim Safely Rules below.

Swim Safely Rules

Below you will find details about water quality and blue-green algae at Bray Lake.

Water Quality

Algae Information