To ensure that swimming is a real pleasure...

General safety instructions

It is good that we can swim in the Elbe again, but there are dangers lurking in rivers with many currents, like the Elbe. To guarantee the success of an enjoyable and trouble-free celebration of the Elbe Swimming Day 2005, please keep to the following basic rules:

  • Use only the officially designated swimming areas where lifeguards are on duty and at the specified times.
  • Find out from the organisers or people who know the area about possible dangers such as currents, depth of water, bridges and shipping traffic.
  • Don’t overestimate your physical fitness. In stretches of running water there are often unexpected currents and shallows. For this reason you should only swim in the Elbe or in other rivers when you are fit and healthy.
  • Always go carefully into the water. An elegant dive can easily result in painful injuries or even worse. Use only clearly visible and easily accessible places. Avoid stony and overgrown sections of the riverbank as well as protected areas, reeds, breeding and spawning areas.
  • Before you go into the water, make sure where you can leave it without difficulty and don’t forget to take account of the current.
  • Don’t go off on your own. Remember: if you go swimming alone, there will be no-one available to help you or fetch help in case of an accident.
  • Beware of bridge piers, the underwater foundations are dangerous obstacles. They affect the current (eddy effect). The same applies to groyne areas. Give these areas a wide berth.
  • Keep at least 100m distance from harbours, weirs and locks, industrial areas, sheet-pile walls and shipping channels.
  • Beware of risk of injury! Keep a look out for flotsam and underwater obstacles (abandoned bicycles) when you are swimming.
  • If you fall into the water, or when you feel the first signs of exhaustion, always swim with the current (not against it) towards the bank. Sandbanks and shallow water also provide an important refuge in case of exhaustion.
  • Please note: in those parts of the Elbe with a tidal current, the normal river current is intensified considerably.
  • Don’t stay in the water too long. The water in rivers does not warm up so quickly as water in lakes or swimming pools. Be aware of the danger of hypothermia.
  • Inflatable objects such as rings, balls and animals are not swimming aids and should not be taken into the water. Airbeds in particular increase the risk of drifting uncontrollably.
  • Don’t drink alcohol or have a meal before you go swimming.