If there’s one thing in the world that all watersports enthusiasts have, it’s the ability to swim. Without that skill our on water activities would be much more limited. And yet taking a dip in the sea as a swimmer is something that still promotes sometimes sarcastic and often questioning remarks from onlookers – particularly when the weather looks bad.

The Hayling Island seafront at low tide is a great place to indulge in a bit of wild swimming. Enthusiasts reckon that the act is both revitalising and rewarding.

Swimming against the ebb and flow of the tide is a fantastic way to exercise and keep fit. Given that the local residents who participate in wild swimming all look about ten years younger than they are, there must be something in it!

It’s not just the sea front that offers the opportunity for wild swimming. Get it right with the tide and weather and you can quite happily do a few laps in and around the waters surrounding the whole island.

With an abundance of underwater wildlife on show, swimming is a great way to explore the ocean deep and see what lives just off our shores. Dolphins, seals and the many fish are possibly things that you will see.

It is worth bearing in mind that Hayling can get quite busy with boating traffic so if you are planning on swimming it is worth getting a diving buoy to attach to yourself. This way you are more likely to be seen and so avoid getting mown down by some unsuspecting speed boat! Staying close to the shoreline will also minimise this risk.

Wild swimming is usually practiced through the summer months when the water is at its warmest. This doesn’t have to be the case though; you can swim in the sea at any time of year.

Getting hold of a swim wetsuit is now relatively easy and this means that, should you want to, continuing through the off season is a possibility.

In certain parts of the country there are open water swimming clubs but, as yet, it is only a select few who participate on Hayling with no official club up and running. Numbers though are increasing.

Some of the best parts of Hayling for swimming are in and around the Kench area, towards the west side of the island. Here you will find some magnificent wildlife that lives in, on and beside the water. As a swimmer you will be making little noise to disturb these animals which puts you in a unique situation where you can observe without fear of startling the creatures. Just be aware of the tidal currents that flow here.

With its Blue Flag beach, ensuring water quality, and many options for entering the water, Hayling Island is a great place to indulge in a spot of wild swimming. Not only will it keep you immensely fit but you will truly feel at one with nature as well.

Sea Swimming Key Facts

  • Understand tides and know tide times
  • Be wary of shipping and boating lanes – you will be difficult to spot
  • Attach a dive buoy to yourself for enhanced visibility
  • Wear a swim wetsuit if necessary
  • Observe but do not disturb local wildlife
  • For advice on potential swimming spots, speak to the Langstone and Chichester Harbour offices.