Take the New Year’s plunge in Swampscott

SWAMPSCOTT — Put your bathing suit on and join hundreds of residents and the Swampscott Yacht Club (SYC) for the annual New Year’s Day dip in the icy waters at Fisherman’s Beach.

SYC will hold its 16th annual Polar Plunge this year. The plunge will benefit Anchor Food Pantry, and SYC is asking each participant of the plunge for a minimum donation of $25. Participants can also bring canned goods to donate.

The first 150 plungers to sign in for the event before, or on Jan. 1, will receive a commemorative T-shirt.

Check-in will begin at 10:15 a.m. on Jan 1. at Fisherman’s Beach, and the plunge will occur at 11 a.m. sharp.

The organizers are promising a bonfire on the beach and will play tropical music to set the mood.

The SYC had to postpone its traditional Commodore’s Open House, which typically occurs after the plunge, but hot chocolate and bagels will be available outdoors immediately after the dip.

First timers might want to think through their strategy for the cold-water plunge. For health and safety purposes, it is a good idea to stand on a towel or blanket before jumping into the water, and only remove clothes right before the plunge.

Socks, aqua boots, neoprene surf boots or running shoes can prevent cuts and scrapes on your feet, and prevent your toes from sticking to the snowy or icy shore — although it doesn’t seem like snow will be an issue this year. Bespectacled polar plungers might want to secure their glasses with a strap or a bathing cap.

Only stay in the water for a few minutes — cold water draws heat away from the body about 20 times faster than air. Warming up with alcohol might not be the best idea because it lowers body temperature — even though it might feel otherwise.

It is advisable to bring a spotter with you to the event, who can keep an eye on you from the shore at all times. As you get out of the water, they can help you dry yourself off and hand you dry clothes, socks and shoes.

Happy New Year and safe dipping!

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