How to Overcome Fear of Ocean Swimming

Some suggestions on “How to Overcome Fear of Ocean Swimming”

Are you afraid of swimming in the ocean? You’re not alone! In fact most people (myself included) feel some apprehension  about the idea of swimming in open water, especially when we can’t see the bottom.

No one can promise any ‘magical cure’ for everybody and I certainly won’t even try here in this blog. However, with the right mindset and preparation, perhaps we can overcome some of this fear and replace that with thrill and satisfaction that wild swimming can bring.

Acknowledge our Fear

The first step in overcoming our fear of ocean swimming is acknowledging it. It’s okay to feel scared, and it’s important to recognize that fear is a natural response to being in the ocean away from the shore.  Once we’ve acknowledged our fear, we can start to work on overcoming it.

Start Small

If you’re new to ocean swimming, it’s important to start small. Don’t jump into the deep end right away. Begin by wading in shallow water and gradually work your way deeper, perhaps swim along a beach close to the shore at first before trying a deep water crossing. This will help you get used to the sensation of swimming in open water and build your confidence.

Get Comfortable with Your Gear

Wearing the right gear can make a big difference in how comfortable you feel in the water. Invest in a good wetsuit, swim cap, and goggles. Use a tow float or flippers for added support.

Take the time to adjust your gear so it fits properly and feels comfortable. This will help you feel more at ease in the water

Practice Breathing Techniques

One of the most important aspects of ocean swimming is proper breathing technique. Practice taking slow, deep breaths and exhaling slowly. This will help you stay calm and relaxed in the water. If you feel yourself getting anxious, take a break and focus on your breathing.

Find a Buddy or Swim in a Group

For me this is the biggest help! Swimming with a buddy or in a group makes me feel more confident and safe in the water. Having someone to swim with can make the experience more enjoyable and less intimidating. When I am with a group of friends or there is fun banter going on it really reduces my stress and fear levels. It’s hard to feel afraid when laughing!

Learn to Read the Water

Understanding the ocean and its currents can help you feel more in control in the water. Take the time to learn about ocean conditions, such as tides and waves. This will help you make informed decisions about when and where to swim.

Take a Class

If you’re still feeling nervous about ocean swimming, consider taking a class. Many swimming schools offer ocean swimming classes that teach you the skills you need to feel confident in the water. You’ll learn about safety, breathing techniques, and how to navigate open water.

Visualize Success

Visualization can be a powerful tool in overcoming fear. Take some time to visualize yourself swimming confidently in the ocean. Imagine yourself feeling calm and in control. This can help you build confidence and prepare yourself mentally for the experience.

Build Your Physical Fitness

Being physically fit can help you feel more confident in the water. Make sure you’re getting enough exercise and eating a healthy diet. Pool swimming is a great way to build your endurance and improve your technique.

Gradually Increase Your Exposure

Once you’ve started to feel more comfortable in the water, you might gradually increase your exposure to open water swimming. Start by swimming in calm conditions and gradually work your way up to more challenging conditions. This will help you build your confidence and prepare yourself for different situations.

Face Your Fears

Facing your fears can be scary, but it’s an important part of overcoming them. If you’re feeling nervous about ocean swimming, try to identify what specifically is making you afraid. Then, take small steps to face that fear.

Stay Safe

Finally, it’s important to stay safe when swimming in the ocean. Always swim with a buddy, wear a wetsuit and other appropriate gear, and pay attention to ocean conditions. If you’re not comfortable swimming in certain conditions, don’t do it. Your safety should always be your top priority.


Overcoming our fear of ocean swimming takes time and effort, but it’s worth it. By acknowledging our fear, starting small, getting comfortable with our gear, practicing breathing techniques, finding a buddy or group, learning to read the water, taking a class, visualizing success, building our physical fitness, gradually increasing our exposure, facing our fears, and staying safe, we can conquer our fear and enjoy the thrill of ocean swimming. Remember, fear is natural, but it doesn’t have to control us. With the right mind set and preparation, you can achieve your goals and have fun in the water.

Our Ocean Swim Holidays offer swimmers who are nervous or fearful an opportunity to face their fears and enjoy the accomplishment of open water swimming in a fun, social and safe environment.  You are encouraged to talk to our guides about any specific fears and we will do what we can to help you overcome them.

You will be swimming in a group of likeminded swimmers under the care of our experienced and trained guides with the option of hopping onto the support boat at any time for a break from the swim. Safety is only a few strokes away. We also offer you the choice of using flippers and try to match your swim speed with others in the group.

We would love to share the satisfaction of seeing you participate and enjoy your ocean swim holiday despite any initial fears!