swimming in Scilly

The Isles of Scilly is a wonderful place to swim. Here are a few things you might find useful……

Sea temperature

From looking at the photos you might think we experience tropical temperatures  but unfortunately it’s rather cooler! It’s bracing to say the least but wow is it worth it! Take a look at the graph below for an idea but we’re not convinced how accurate it is. We love the feeling of the cold water against our skin but do wear a wetsuit for longer swims.

sea temps


Sea swimming is not without its risks but with a few common sense precautions you can swim in safety.

  • try never to swim alone; however if you must, make sure you tell someone where you are going and preferably ask them to keep an eye out for you – and let them know when you get back!
  • wear a brightly coloured swim cap (maybe an Adventure Scilly one!)
  • don’t swim near the quays and in ferry routes
  • don’t venture too far from shore without a boat or kayak support
  • be aware of the water temperature and make sure you have warm clothes to change into afterwards

Although there are some strong tides these will only affect you off exposed headlands and crossings between islands.

There are some good safety resources at the Outdoor Swimming Society.

bespoke group trips

Are you part of a swimming club, training for a Channel relay or just have a group  of friends you’d like to bring swimming to Scilly? Contact us for a chat.

Also have a look at this blog post.

Social swimming

We have a Facebook group called Scilly Sea Swimmers which is a great place to meet up with local swimmers.

Dryrobe hire

We’re now offering lovely snuggly Dryrobes for hire by the day or by the week to keep you warm after your swim.

Everything you ever needed to know about swimming in Scilly…

how to take a dip – a few dos and don’ts

  • DO strip off down to your undies or suitable swimming attire. Change quickly and sensibly and no-one will pay you the slightest attention…
  • DON’T wriggle around with a towel awkwardly around you, fiddling and faffing to change modestly – it will only result in people staring at your daft attempts
  • DO have a towel ready for your return from the high seas
  • DO charge down the beach at top speed
  • DON’T creep in slowly, one toe at a time, inch by inch – you’re only delaying the delicious agony of total immersion in the zingy salt water
  • DON’T stub your toe on a rock on the way in
  • DO plunge in with gusto
  • DON’T rush in so fast that your trunks fall down
  • DO breathe a nice strong breath out as you immerse yourself in the cold water
  • DO put your head under, it feels amazing (and is the BEST hangover cure!)
  • DO swim at least 20 strokes before you decide it’s too cold – your body will take a little time to adjust and you might then decide to stay in longer….
  • DO look around you. Enjoy the pretty shells and sea glass on the sand, the colourful seaweeds and the occasional piece of old pottery; marvel at the views all around you – the white sand and ever-changing skies
  • DO lie on your back and close your eyes for a little while, feel the sea supporting you, the world and the sky expanding all around you
  • DO dress quickly to warm up afterwards (and it’s always good to have a hat handy)
  • DO accept the sandpaper-like qualities of your clothing following a quick dip in the ocean, it isn’t easy getting dressed on a sandy beach when your skin is salty
  • DO enjoy the sparkly sand on your skin
  • DO congratulate yourself with some tasty tea and cake from a local cafe