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Safely swimming in the ocean at night

Swimming in the Ocean at Night: A Helpful Safety Review

A safety review for swimming in the ocean at nightSwimming can be a stress-relieving activity and an intense workout. While swimming in lakes or local pools can be very fun, there is no experience like swimming in the ocean. You have a much bigger area to swim in and can even enjoy the beautiful landscape outside in some instances. 

At nighttime, the experience can be even more enjoyable and relaxing. However, swimming in the ocean at night does not come without its dangers. Make sure you do your research before going for a dive in any swim water. 

Keep reading to learn more about how you can safely navigate your ocean swim at night.

Can You Swim in the Ocean at Night?

Yes, you can swim at night, but it requires preparation. 

If you are an inexperienced swimmer, we do not recommend you swim at night. It can be significantly more dangerous than swimming during the daytime. There are several reasons why it is more difficult to swim at night than during the day. 

  • The lack of sunlight weakens your ability to see things at night. 
  • There are generally fewer people around in the ocean at nighttime. Beaches tend to be more populated during the day. 
  • Many ocean predators are nocturnal animals. 

The Biggest Risks of Swimming in the Ocean at Night

Fewer people are around, so you'll need to be extra cautious when swimming at nightAs mentioned above, some of the most significant risks of swimming at night include: 

  • Vision gets weaker – The darkness decreases your visibility to spot obstacles such as shore breaks and rip currents. The darkness also makes it more difficult for you to keep track of how far you are from the shore.
    • If you get stuck in a rip current, the decreased visibility of the shore could prevent you from getting out of the current.
    • The reduced sunlight also makes it more difficult to spot the bottom of the ocean. This can be risky because certain marine animals become more active at night, and stepping on one can hurt your feet.
    • You can swim so far out from the shore at night that you might not have the physical power to swim safely back to shore. Make sure you go swimming based on your skills and experiences.
    • It is harder to see colors at night. Therefore, you can easily swim into contaminated waters with harmful chemicals.
  • Fewer People Around – Many tourists, locals, and swimmers tend to visit the beach during the daytime. There are also lifeguards on duty that can rescue you in case of an emergency. You are much less likely to be spotted at night time if you are alone without a guard or friend in sight. 
  • Ocean predators – Certain ocean animals, can become more active at night. For example, stingrays tend to hunt and pray during nighttime. If you are swimming and bump into one, they could bite you. A stingray bite can be both painful and lethal. 

Do Sharks Become More Active at Night?

Sharks are often more active at nightSpeaking of ocean predators, a shark is one of the most dangerous animals of them all. Sharks do tend to be more active during the night time and twilight hours. 

Some species will even come closer to shore during this time to hunt for prey. If you are swimming during these hours, the possibility of a shark confusing you for prey increases significantly. 

Ocean Swimming Tips

Tips for Swimming Safely in the Ocean and Night

You can take several steps to ensure you will be safer during your nighttime swim.

  • Since certain ocean predators become more active at night, you might want to wear swimming shoes. Swimming shoes can make stepping on the bottom of the ocean safer while you tread towards the shoreline. Swimming shoes are more likely to protect you from stepping on painful rocks or sea urchins. 
  • You should also research if there are sharks in the area before you go for a swim at night. You can look at recent local reports to find this information out.
  • Keep in mind that if there are reports of shark sightings in the area during the daylight hours, the chances of sharks hunting for prey will be more significant during the nighttime. 
  • Do not ever go swimming alone at night. It is best to go swimming in the presence of a lifeguard in the case of an emergency. However, if no lifeguard is around, you should always bring a friend or family member with you. If they are aware of your swimming activity, they will be able to rescue you in case you start to drown.
  • Choose a location that has a well-lit shoreline. First of all, this will help you keep track of the coastline. It would be best if you never lost sight of the shoreline. However, if you accidentally swim too far from the shore, you will be able to find your way back more quickly. 
  • Only swim based on your swimming skills and experience. Do not swim so far out that you will not be able to swim back physically. If you want to develop your swimming skills and stamina, practice in a swimming pool. Open oceans are much more dangerous for swimming practice. 
  • If the location has reports of rip currents, avoid swimming at night at that location.
  • Do not swim if you hear thunder or if there are reports of lightning storms coming. 
  • Do not attempt to swim in the ocean at night if you have consumed alcohol.

Conclusion

Indeed, the risks of swimming at night time are significantly more significant than swimming during the daylight hours. There is both decreased visibility and the increased activity of dangerous ocean predators during the nighttime. 

You must also make sure you never go swimming alone. Whether you are enjoying your ocean, swimming on a night out in Miami, or going for a deep dive in the Pacific Ocean along the coast of California, be sure to follow our tips and recommendations to keep yourself out of harm’s way. 

 

References:

https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/about/

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