Join us every Sunday morning November – March for a cold water swim at Dock 8!

Our cold water swim series allows swimmers to access quality supervised sessions with us all year round. These sessions are perfect for experienced open water swimmers wishing to continue to swim in the ‘off peak’ season, and they also give a chance for new open water swimmers to acclimatise to colder temperatures. We do recommend anyone new to open-water swimming take part in an intro session first, especially during the colder months of January and March, when the water is at its coldest. You can book on to the normal session if you prefer; however, we ask that you make us aware that it is your first time so we can show you what to do and any information you need to be aware of. It’s also really helpful for our safety team, as we can keep an extra eye on you while you start out.

Coaching sessions run ad-hoc and are roughly available once a month during the off peak season. The next Intro to Cold Water Swimming and 1-2-1 sessions are on the 14th January – please click the book now button for more info.

These sessions are tow float compulsorily, even if you are wearing a wetsuit.

The 300m course is open as well as the training area, please feel free to use the training area if you prefer or are struggling with the temperature.

We will have a warm drink ready for you at the end of your swim.

Changing rooms and showers are available.

Cost: Includes a warm drink.

  • Per Swim: £8 (Block passes from our general swims cannot be used)

Timings: 10:15am – 11:30am

  • Every Sunday throughout January
  • Feb onwards – TBC – Sessions will run providing there is enough interest to cover our minimum swim numbers

Online booking only – please click the book now button

Cold Water Swim Session Information

Swimming ability:

  • You must be able to swim 300m of any stroke unaided.
  • It’s highly recommended that only those with open water experience swim on the cold sessions due to the lower temperatures.


  • Must be physically fit and to the best of your knowledge, be suitable to take part in physical activity in cold, deep water.
  • If you are unsure or have a medical condition, please consult your GP for advice on swimming in outdoor / cold water.
  • If you have a heart condition, there are risks added risks associated with cold water that you should consider and discuss with your doctor or nurse specialist before starting swimming.
  • You must inform Salford Watersports Centre of any medical issues, illness or disability that may affect you taking part in an activity.

Minimum Age:

  • 12* & Wetsuit Compulsory for ages 12-17
  • *12-17-year-olds MUST swim with a competent adult (1 -1 ratio for cold water swims). The exception to this is if you can provide a signed letter from a swimming coach (i.e Squad ability) that the child is suitable to train in cold – open water, then that child can swim without an adult, this needs to be agreed upon prior to the session and an adult must be ‘on-site’.

We have both Male and Female changing rooms with showers, plus two accessible toilet/changing rooms with showers.

Please note – we advise against having a hot shower straight after your cold swim. You should wash your hands after being in the water then gradually warm up. Remove wet clothing, dry off with a towel and then put on dry, warm layers. Only shower in warm water when you have properly warmed up. This is for your own safety and will reduce the ‘After Drop’ effect. 

We have a number of lockers inside the facility to store your belongings, the majority of our lockers take a £1 coin (return)

Things you need to do/be aware of before you swim.

During colder temperatures, it’s really important to listen to your body. There’s lots of conflicting advice out there about what to wear and what not to wear in cold water, our advice is and always has been – KEEP WARM and wear a wetsuit if you can. If you cant, then wear as many warm accessories as you can such as neoprene gloves and socks, they can make a world of a difference. You can also get neoprene hats to go under your swim hat.

If you prefer to swim in skins then that’s fine, we just want you to be safe so please communicate with us at any point during or after your swim if you are struggling, same applies to wetsuit wearers of course.

It is better to listen to your body rather than push on and put yourself at risk.

  • Tow floats are compulsory for the cold swim sessions and temperatures 14 degrees and under during the main season.
  • If you have any doubts, unsure of what to do or concerns about your ability, please let us know. If you are unsure of your medical suitability to take part in open water swimming, please consult your GP first.
  • Please ensure you have filled in the disclaimer and questionnaire when booking and have provided us with an emergency contact. If you do have a medical condition that we need to be aware of, please fill this in on the form, its always best to let the team know on the day too
  • Check in with the centre or our facebook group for the latest water temperature, if you are not used to cold water, it is recommended to take part in one of our coaching sessions first. Cold Water shock can happen even during periods of warm weather. During the cold swims, temperatures can get as low at 5/6 degrees, only experienced cold water swimmers should swim during these temperatures.
  • Ensure you are well hydrated, swimmers often bring bottles of water and leave them on the pontoon whilst they swim
  • Do not swim if under the influence of drugs, alcohol or medication that may affect your abilities
  • If you are feeling under the weather or off, it’s advised that you do not swim.
  • If you have any small cuts/wounds, cover them with waterproof plasters. Avoid swimming with any large wounds
  • We highly recommend wearing a wetsuit, in temperatures under 16 degrees and especially on the cold swims.
  • We also recommend wearing neoprene gloves and socks to keep you warm during the cold season.
  • On cold days, the sun can still burn you on the water so sun cream is advisable!

It’s incredibly important that you only swim/continue to swim if you are sure you are comfortable. If at any point you need assistance, please lie on your back, wave and shout to our safety team if you can.

  • Ensure you follow the swim course and rules set out by Salford Watersports Centre. Just the 300m course is open and training area is open for cold swims, please do not try to swim the 500m course as you will be putting other swimmers at risk by compromising our safety cover.
  • Please only enter the water via the designated entrances and on the slip way mats.
  • Communicate with our safety team if at any point you are feeling unwell, need a rest, cramp or simply want to stop swimming.

Acclimatising to cold water:

There’s lots of advice on this so we’ll put a few links below, we also have coaching sessions available which are highly recommended if you need extra help or are just starting out on your cold journey.

Our advice on acclimatisation is wear layers and take your time.

  • Enter the water slowly, gently splash the water in the shallow area on to your body.
  • Be mindful of the drop off into deep water, once you are ready to get past this point, do this slowly and stay in that area until you can get your breathing under control.
  • If you are wearing a wetsuit, pulling the neck helps you to breathe if you are struggling to catch your breath.
  • Float until you are comfortable and then set off.
  • If you are feeling dizzy or unwell, do not swim off. Wait on the pontoon or on the slip way, do not exit quickly – tell a member of staff and slowly make your way out.

Other tips:

  • Swim regular, throughout the season to get used to the temperature changes and give yourself a better chance at adapting easier.
  • Cold Showers


How to acclimatise – Outdoor Swimming Society Outdoor Swimming Society

Cold water swimming: what is the safest way to do it? – BBC News


Post swim safety is just as important as safety pre and during your swim, especially in cooler temperatures.

It’s important to warm up slowly:

  • Whilst it may feel tempting, if you are cold following your swim, do not have a hot shower.  You should wash your hands.
  • You should take off your wet clothes immediately (Changing robes are perfect for this) and towel dry.
  • Put on dry clothes & warm layers asap
  • Have a warm drink / sugary snack if you can
  • Sit down if you feel faint

Only when you feel properly warmed up should you shower, the reason for this is to reduce the risk of the ‘Afterdrop’ which is where your body continues to cool post swim.

The ‘Afterdrop’ can happen immediately or an hour or so after your swim, it’s where you can start to shiver and feel and feeling unwell/faint.

For more information please see:

Afterdrop & the subtle art of warming up – Outdoor Swimming Society Outdoor Swimming Society

  • Ensure you wash your hands after your swim and shower as soon as you can. Whilst the water quality is high, it is still open water and whilst rare, there is a possibility of having Weils or Leptospirosis. If you feel unwell after swimming and have flu like symptoms you should contact your doctor as soon as possible.
The image shows two swimmers waving to the camera on one of the cold water swimming sessions. The sun is shining.