Open Water Swimming

Open Water Swimming

Open water swimming takes place at  “The Bridge”  South Lake, near Dartford, Kent every Monday and Friday evening 6pm ­- 8pm, weather and light conditions permitting and Saturday morning between 10am-12 Noon from May 6th ­through to October.

Car parking is a short stroll to registration and the entry point for the lake. We have permission to use the Crosswater Bathrooms car park on Rennie Drive, DA1 5FU. Please park at the front of the car park and keep to the road and footpaths down either side of the premises to walk to the lake entry. You will need to display the DWOTC permit to identify your vehicle. Do contact me if you need one.

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Who Can Swim – Open Water Membership

All open water swimmers must be aged 18 and must be registered with the Club to ensure the relevant up to date personal information is held and Lake Health and Safety is maintained.

All swimmers must either be a full (or trial) member of Dartford and White Oak Tri Club or have Open Water Membership in place. Open Water only Membership is £30.00 for the first year and then £5 rejoining  fee payable on this website and then £6.00 per swim thereafter payable at the lake before swimming.

Lake Open Water Swimming Code of Conduct

  • Open water training sessions only take place Monday and Friday evenings 6:00pm – 8:00pm and Saturday Morning 09:00AM and 12Noon, normally between Late April and September each year.  Absolutely no admittance to the lake area is permitted outside of this period.
  • No entry to the water will be allowed until the Club Lake Safety Marshal has carried out the lake safety assessment, this is to ensure that the lake environment is safe and does not put swimmers or members of the general public at risk.
  • As well as the Club Lake Marshal the club must provide volunteers to support the Club as required.
  • Registration point.  The volunteers are responsible for liaising with the club safety marshal on safety issues and to ensure that it is safe to proceed with the swim. If no volunteers are available the session will be cancelled.
  • Safety cover will be provided at all sessions and this will be above the minimum standard identified in the venue risk assessment.
  • Sessions will not enter into the water space of other water sports users.
  • All attendees whether swimming or not, will use the venue with respect and obey instructions of members of staff or marshals.
  • Buoyancy wetsuits or life jackets must be worn at all times when on or within 2 meters of the lake. All children and pets must be kept at least 2 meters away from the water’s edge.
  • Swimmers should monitor the Club website and egroup (Facebook) for changes to time and safety information.
  • The club has a site specific Emergency Action Plan and all relevant personnel will be aware of its content and have access to it. It will be posted at the registration point. All swimmers will sign at lake entry to say they have read and understood the Lake Emergency Action Plan (EAP)
  • A First Aid Kit will be available at each session at the registration point.
  • Entry to and exit from the water will be at the designated place only unless instructed otherwise by the club safety marshal.
  • A list of club members will be held by the club safety marshal, which will include emergency contact details.
  • Each swimmer must annually complete the online registration declaration form stating any medical conditions/issues, emergency contacts and agreeing to abide by the club’s code of conduct regarding open water training.
  • All swimmers will be made aware of the symptoms of Weil’s Disease and will sign on lake entry to confirm they are aware.
  • Swimmers must be capable of completing 600 meters continuous swimming, be over the age of 18 and be a current member of the Club or be an Open Water Member.
  • All swimmers must be assessed prior to commencing lake training, to ensure capability and safety awareness.  Lake induction safety training will be provided by the club.
  • Before each session, a pre-swim briefing will be given by the club safety marshal to provide clear guidance on the session, the group structure, the course and information on what to do if experiencing difficulty. (Roll onto back and raise one arm in the air. (Adopt Defensive Swim Technique – Roll onto back and raise one arm in the air.)
  • All swimmers will register their name at the club Registration point with the club safety marshal every time they enter or exit the water. The Club safety marshal will closely monitor concurrent user numbers which must not exceed 50.
  • Swimmers will wear buoyancy wetsuits (compulsory) and a brightly coloured swim hat at all times whilst in the water.  No surf suits permitted. Swim water must be above 14° and below 24° to enter.
  • Participants must swim in a minimum of pairs and must NOT leave their partners side whilst in the water. This is the minimum organisational requirement.
  • Swimmers will use one of the designated courses set by the club. The courses will be marked by buoys or landmarks and will be as parallel to the bank as possible. A course map will be on show in the registration point.
  • Do warm up and warm down.
  • Choose a distance suitable for you.
  • Make sure you have a well fitted wet suit.
  • Do not swim or enter the water if feeling unwell.
  • If you experience any difficulty at all, use defensive swim technique – roll onto your back and raise your arm, the safety kayak will come to your aid.
  • Do not drink the lake water.
  • All swimmers will exit the water at the end of the designated swim session or if instructed to do so and register their exit in the registration point.

In the event of an emergency, immediately notify the club lake safety marshal or dial 999 and ask for the relevant assistance.


No responsibility will be accepted by the Dartford and White Oak Triathlon Club, the owners and TBEMC or any other associated companies, its staff or any other person on the premises for any injury, death or any loss howsoever caused. This notice is applied to any person attending the Dartford & White Oak Triathlon Club open water training sessions, whether swimming or not.

All swimmers please note:  United Kingdom inland waters are not completely safe for swimming.   Although risks of disease are low and risks of serious infection are small, a swimmer may be susceptible to infection through immune suppression, particularly if they are not in good health at the time of swimming. Swimmers will sign at lake entry to confirm they have read and understood the DWOTC Lake Code of Conduct, the Lake EAP and the symptoms and risks of Weil’s Disease.

Dartford & White Oak Triathlon Club reserves the right to cancel or cut short open water swimming sessions if it is considered un-safe to proceed.

All swimmers enter the water at their own risk.

Further enquiries can be directed to James Betteridge (Club Lake Manager) on the form below

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