Be safe if joining in the New Year’s dip

As usual, we at the Panama Swimming Club are anticipating that many people will turn up on for the traditional New Year’s Day Swim outside the club premises in Whitley Bay.

We at the club do not ‘organise’ the event although we offer the use of our downstairs changing rooms free of charge.

The event is simply something which has grown up organically on the back of the club’s New Year’s Day dip, a tradition stretching back many years.

Not only do we not officially organise the event, we are not responsible for the behaviour and safety of swimmers who go in. We feel it particularly important to stress this ahead of the forthcoming swim.

As many who have taken part know — and numbers reached well over 100 last year — the swim takes place at 11am on New Year’s Day.

However, the level of the tide this year, at this time, is not favourable. It will be at a spot where there are likely to be many rocks at and near the water’s edge, many of them not immediately visible.

At the same time, the beach slopes away here, and while the tide will be incoming, still if waves should be large this can lead to drag, i.e. a swimmer feeling themselves pulled back.

In addition, since high tide will be at 12.30pm there will not be a wide strip of beach between the water’s edge and the sea wall — something spectators may wish to note.

This strip also contains a considerable amount of stones and pebbles thanks to recent storms, quite hard to get over in bare feet.

Whereas we welcome everyone to the New Year’s Day dip, we feel the above information is worth mentioning.

For more information on safe swimming and the facilities offered on the day, please go to our website

Further queries can also be answered there by email.

Carol Clewlow