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Sports

Bluefin Chairperson warns of dangers

Darren Grech Chariperson of BlueFin Open Water has issued a warning to
members of the dangers of the sport if rules are not adhered to.
As the sport grows in popularity with more people taking it up the association has issues guidance over the dangers particularly aimed at newcomers who might not yet be fully acquainted with sea conditions and some of the rules that exists.
In a notice to its members via its social
Media pages Darren Grech wrote, “This is a message to all open water swimmers new to the game in Gibraltar.”
“We are indeed very excited by the growth of the sport; to see people from all walks of life and abilities taking to swimming in and around our coastal waters is very gratifying. The benefits of open water swimming are well known in respect of mental well-being and so forth.”
“As Chairperson of Bluefin Open Water swimming club, rest assured we are here to help, support and guide you as you progress in the sport which is really a way of life. However, we also have a duty to keep you safe and point out the dangers.”
“You should swim in safe areas, checking weather and currents beforehand; you should never swim alone, or at least make sure people are spotting you. Most definitely you should not swim in areas where swimming is not allowed unless permission is sought from the Captain of the Port, Mr Manuel Tirado.”
“You cannot cross moles, even under boat cover. Apart from the obvious danger, you are breaking the law. This cannot be taken lightly. You can pack in the kilometres and get the training in a whole range of areas without this additional risk. The sea can change in minutes; slingshot tidal flows and currents at the mole extremities are significant and could put you face to face with marine traffic who don’t know you are there. Past little bay you will be swept towards the lighthouse and beyond (to “los picos”) on the wrong current and weather system. You could be surrounded by jellyfish or man-o-war with no exit points. You could get cold very quickly.”
“We are experienced swimmers, some of you guys sure are faster, stronger and fitter, but I have swam 7000km of open water swimming in Gibraltar waters. We basically know what we are talking about. Please trust us. We will help you break records and achieve your goals.”
“Enjoy open water swimming but do so responsibly please. You will achieve all your milestones and break records even, but you must listen to advice.”
The sport has enjoyed a steady growth in recent years. During the recent lockdown it also started to see additional interest becoming one of the only sports available other than running and cycling which were allowed.
With vast experience among its ranks participants have promoted the ethics behind swimming in open water throughout the year and keeping the risks to a minimum even when swimming in conditions which would deter normal bathers from entering the water.
Recently a team, with its support team in tow managed to break the round the Rock record which had stood for several decades.