Safety tips for night swimming in the ocean

Stef Zisovska
Swimming at night
Swimming at night

Swimming at night in open water can be magical and exciting, but you always need to be prepared for it. All outdoor sports at night feel different than during the daytime. Mountain biking with a headlamp or cross-country skiing under the moonlight is not too different from swimming in the ocean by night. If someone tells you not to swim at night because it’s dangerous, you will get killed, or it’s stupid to do it, don’t let that person scare you. Yes, it can be dangerous, but only if you’re not careful. If you don’t try it, you will miss a great experience of a night swim in the waves under the moonlight. The fact you can’t see anything makes it even more thrilling. Now, it’s crucial to stay safe and alive, so before going for a night swim, read these useful tips. Let’s get started!

Don’t go alone

Night swim
Night swim

The chances that something bad will happen to you are pretty slim but don’t take unnecessary risks. You should never swim alone in the ocean at anytime, therefore, you shouldn’t swim alone in the ocean at night.

Inform yourself

If you don’t know the area, ask about the tide schedule, and the weather conditions. Also, find out if there are rip currents, is it jellyfish season, or are there any other unusual events in the water that you should be aware of.

Wear shoes

Rubber shoes are optional depending on where are you swimming. They are good if you don’t exactly know what’s beneath you and can protect your feet from stingray, seashells, stones, and other debris.

Don’t go too far!

Swimming at night
Swimming at night

As you know, nature is unpredictable, and it takes only one wave to make you disappear. To avoid a tragedy, swim parallel to the shore and don’t go further if you can’t touch the bottom. Night swimming in the ocean is really not about the depth, it’s more about feeling the waves lapping at your body without being able to see when exactly they’re coming. To do this, you only need to be in water up to your knees. If you go too far, be sure in your swimming abilities and that you have the strength to get back. But, preferably, don’t go too far!

Keep the shoreline in sight

No matter what you do, keep the shoreline in sight! If you can’t see the shoreline from where you are, start worrying. Always be sure that you can get out of the water whenever you want to. Don’t play the superhero or try to impress anyone. Just be smart and stay alive.

Duck dive

If all of a sudden a huge wave shows up, don’t jump, go underneath like the surfers do. Accept that you can’t win a fight with a big wave, so you better hide.

Wear a reflective tape

Wrap a reflective tape on your wrists before entering the ocean, so others can see you.

Don’t swim intoxicated

Swimming at night
Swimming at night

Drunk people love jumping into the ocean at night, which leads to many deaths. Don’t make silly decisions when you’re intoxicated or under the influence of drugs. Go for a night swimming session only if the conditions are right and you really want to do it.

Swimming at night should be on your bucket list, but it’s not for everybody. If you feel scared for some reason, then don’t push yourself to do it. If you do want to try night swimming but can’t find friends who will join you, ask someone from the local surf school to join you and ask if they have guided swims at night. In some beach towns, night swimming and night surfing are traditional on New Year’s Eve. Awesome, right? Stay safe and good luck!


stef-zisovska is one of the authors writing for Outdoor Revival