Open-water swimming

by Greg Maitinsky, founding member and marathon swimmer, GLOW Swimming

Photo credit: Greg Maitinsky - Open-water swimmer
Photo credit: Greg Maitinsky - Open-water swimmer

Pilots have a unique vantage point on the terrain below them. When flying over or using open bodies of water for take-off and landing, you might notice open-water swimming enthusiasts in lakes, rivers, and oceans.

We, the Open Water Swimming community, would like to introduce ourselves to you.

We usually swim close to shore and tend to stick together in pods for safety, just like dolphins do. We try to avoid high-traffic areas and often share our lane with kayaks, canoes, and small watercraft. Occasionally, we might even cross paths with taxiing floatplanes and flying boats.

Swimmers in open water usually—but not always—pull fluorescent buoys/floats behind them for more visibility and for enhanced safety. However, our line of sight is limited and being submerged in water, we are very minimally tuned in to surrounding sound/audio clues. In addition, due to our relatively slower speeds, our collision avoidance capability is extraordinarily little when compared with watercraft.

We ask for your help to watch out for us in case we do cross paths. And if you are ever walking on shore and see a group of us, feel free to join!