With the arrival of the summer weather Denmark has been waiting for, the nation's beaches will be jam-packed over the next several days. But although the air temperatures have finally made summer seem real, lifeguards are warning that water temperatures have not followed suit. And that, they say, can set swimmers up for a bad experience.
“We are afraid that people can start to feel unwell if they come from the warm beach out into the cold water,” Anders Myrhøj, the head of TrygFonden's lifeguard corps, told Berlingske Nyhedsbureau.
Water temperatures at Denmark's coasts are no higher than 14-15C, and lifeguards warn that the significant difference between the air and water temperatures can lead to muscle cramps and shortness of breath.
“We advise people to carefully go out in the water and allow their bodies to adapt to the low temperatures. Get control of your breathing. Muscles can also react a bit differently if they are quickly cooled down,” Myrhøj said.
While the water may be cold, at least it is clean. The European Environment Agency reported last month that 79 percent of Denmark's bathing waters offer excellent water quality and a full 97.6 percent of the country's beaches and lakes live up to the minimum requirements of the EU's Bathing Water Directive.
Denmark has 1,017 bathing options that meet the requirements for water quality, bacteria levels and public health risks and just sixteen bodies of water that are not compliant with the EU requirements.