Austrian lake swimming safety

lexlomaxlexlomax Member
edited April 2013 in General Discussion
I will be taking a two week holiday this July in Austria and will be staying at the lakeside village of Mondsee. In preparation for the Zurich 26.4k race in August, I am planning on swimming on the lake. Will be out in the water for about 4-6 hours each day, but wanted to know about water safety tips with boats. I normally train in protected areas (ie from boats) in the ocean in Australia so am pretty inexperienced in this area of safety. I am going to get an orange safety bouy to tow around my waist, but would like to know if this is enough? Are boaters in europe on the lookout for swimmers?


  • timsroottimsroot Spring, TXCharter Member
    I can't speak for Europe, but in the states, if I'm going to be training on a body of water open to boat traffic, I won't swim without an escort. Boats are a lot more likely to see a kayaker than they are to see a swimmer, even if you are towing a SSD.

    I don't mean to portray this in a strictly negative light, but most boaters are in a party type mode when they are out on the water, unless they are captaining some sort of commercial vessel. Because of that, I assume that they have had something to drink, and aren't at the height of their awareness until proven otherwise. Thankfully, I've never had any real incidents with boats. I like to think it's, at least in part, because I swim with a paddler.
  • MikeHMikeH Member
    Plus 1 on Timsroot's guidance. I do swim without an escort in lakes, but never in a lake I don't know well. Assume boaters on lakes don't expect you, are drinking, and may even be underage. A buoy is helpful but not enough, in my humble opinion...
  • Thanks all. Good advice. Have changed our plans and goung to Italy where we have found a smaller lake that forbids all forms of motorboats.
  • I live about 5 minutes away from Mondsee, on another lake called Irrsee. Too bad you already changed your plans, because of all the 20+ lakes in the immediate vicinity, there are only two which allow motor craft: Mondsee and Attersee. Motor craft are forbidden in all the rest. On Mondsee, they are limited to the large tourist ferries, which you can pretty much outswim if you keep a good lookout. Your other option would be to come swim here in "my lake": in July the temp is ca. 23-25 C. It's a swimmer paradise here in Salzburger Land in the summer. Italy is more of a risk because the water quality here is so good you can drink the water. There are motor craft in Italy. Look me up and you can stay and train here. Cheers,
  • lakeman, great advice...sorry, missed your post earlier. Thanks very much for the invitation btw...very kind.

    I have finally settled on the lakes...will be swimming 1 week in each of the following:
    lago maggiore

    Had to go for the bigger lakes so that my wife and kids would be entertained while I belt out the kms, so unfortunately there will be motor craft. Do you happen to have any contacts at any of these lakes were I can rope some eager beaver into doing some paddling for me? I can pay a little bit of money, but don't want to break the bank. Maybe some bored university students who want to earn some money for beer etc? Any advice would be very helpful.
  • Nice one Niek...very good thinking. Will send the organisers an email.
  • Hey Lexlomax,

    There are a lot of boats on the Bodensee and Lago Maggiore. The Lago is kind of on the dirty side, but it never stopped me. Try to get someone to go with you. The Bodensee is fantastic though. Your kids can hire bikes and do tours and there is a wonderful island with famous gardens near Constance. The water is cold and clean. There is a fantastic bakery in Constance near the train station. You won't regret going there. I think that many recreational boaters get drunk on the weekends in the parts of Europe where I go. My strategy is to get in the water early in the morning, before they get out of bed and start drinking. When you get to Zurich swim in the Greifensee or the Katzensee (no boats in Katzensee but warms up quickly) nice play groud for kids. If you do practice in Zurich swim on the East side of the lake there are a number of rowing clubs on the West side. Beware of my friends the rowing clubs. They also give many rowing courses so you really have to be careful. Zurich is crowded with boats.I do not know the Starnbergersee but it looks so beautiful. Enjoy. I live in Zurich so if you want to come swim with me, when you get here let's try to hook up. I will also be swimming the race.

    Sisu: a Finnish term meaning strength of will, determination, perseverance, and acting rationally in the face of adversity.

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