Iconic Swims’ mission is to use sea swimming as a way of reconnecting people with the marine environment close to their home. We have been struck by the number of first-time sea swimmers who have remarked: “I love to walk here, but I have never thought about swimming, until today”.
The sea has suffered years of neglect and abuse and it is only recently that a wider audience has begun to take notice of the catastrophic damage being wrought in this unique, much unloved and misunderstood, part of the world.
At last people are beginning to understand what’s going on. We see and hear the terrible messages everywhere, especially in popular recent documentaries, such as Blue Planet (BBC) and Seaspiracy (Netflix):
Majestic marine animals choking on plastic
Global warming and overfishing
Oceans are dying and we need to act fast!
But uncertainty and confusion abound about whether the sea is a safe place for humans. Old myths endure, despite renewed interest in the sea:
The current can drag you under
I don’t like the seaweed
There are monsters in the deep
Only this week a concerned, well-meaning onlooker made a 999 call to HM Coastguard reporting a person in difficulty in the water at a nearby seaside village popular with swimmers. It was a blustery day and the surf was up, so perhaps possible to understand how somebody might have misread the situation. Dutifully – they can never ignore a call – the RNLI launched their nearest lifeboat and a rescue team sped several miles round the coast to find one of our local swimmers in rude health, swimming parallel to the shore about fifty metres out (to avoid breaking waves by the beach) displaying a bright orange tow-float and making steady progress into a gentle tidal current. I am sure it is the non-swimmer's fundamental misunderstanding of the sea, combined with an obsession with safety culture and perhaps having watched too many episodes of Saving Lives at Sea (BBC) which led to this unfortunate situation. I am sure is an all-too-regular occurrence along our coasts. We are trying hard to educate people, both swimmers and non-swimmers alike, about the coastal marine environment: the tides; the wind; the waves; the continual movement of the beach sediment; and of course the wildlife too. We believe that if you’re going to talk the talk, you need to learn to walk the walk... or as we like to say, to swim the swim.
We invite environmentally aware people to join us to reconnect with the stunning marine wilderness right on their doorstep. With us people can learn to enjoy sea swimming both confidently and safely and, moreover, to be the change that they want to see in the world, and be ready to encourage others to think about how they too can prevent further damage to this precious final frontier of wilderness.
Sign up here for our next Introduction to Sea Swimming course being held in and around Milford-on-Sea.