Swim skins

I'm going to be swimming in Greece in the Aegean Sea in June, and doing a river race in MD this May.  I'm not interested in speed - but protection from sea lice, jelly fish (not likely this time of year) and anything else that might be in my vicinity.   I was planning to swim the May race with a sleeveless wet suit - I purchased a long sleeve one for Greece, but now I see that the water temps may be too warm for a wet suit so I am looking at swim skins. 

My question- for swimming 1.5-2 miles in the morning and afternoon, considering comfort and bio needs- would you recommend a swim skin that is sleeveless and short legged (up to knee) - or a full body long sleeve, long leg pant?  And any recommendations of lower cost options/locations to consider? 

Thanks -   

  • Here’s another option — SAFE SEA lotion. I’ve used it for several seasons and am happy with the results. My neighborhood open-water swim location is mid-Narragansett Bay (RI) and gets lots of “sea lice” (jellyfish larva) for a couple weeks twice every summer. When they’re blooming, it can be akin to being swarmed by mosquitos. They (the larva) sting doesn’t hurt, but a day later they’re like mosquito bites, and will itch for days. Others (who aren’t open water swimmers) have suggested using a wetsuit. But here’s the thing. The larva inflict their little sting when they get trapped…in hair, skin folds, swimsuit waistbands, etc. So, if you’re wearing anything…like swim skins…they’re going to get in there and give you that little “mosquito bite” sting. Personally, if I was wearing a wetsuit/skin suit in waters with the larva I’d still use the lotion on my whole body. If you’re NOT wearing anything…at least they have to opportunity to un-attach from you without the sting. AND/OR…you can use the Safe Sea lotion. I can attest that it works for the larva. My swims are generally 2-miles or more and an application lasts that long for me. I can’t say how well it works against full grown stinging jellyfish. I haven’t come in contact with any. Or…if I did…the lotion worked so well that I didn’t notice any sting. If you do use the lotion instead of swim skins, make sure you apply the stuff anywhere the larva can get trapped — under and around swimsuit waistband (or chest/arm for female suits), chest/armpit/pubic hair, under watchband, around/under edge of swim cap, goggle strap on exposed facial skin, etc. Here’s are a couple links for the lotion. I’ve never seen it in stores, but it might be somewhere.  — 

    Good luck. 


  • Much appreciated advice!  Thank you!

  • When we swim, we're invasive species in a habitat already stressed to the limit by us humans and by our pollution. We long distance swimmers call attention to the aquatic world when people watch us out there.  We have a platform to send a message of respect for the environment.  We should uphold the highest standards possible to protect the beach, the water, the creatures and their habitat. 

    Your concerns are totally valid, but they have a much lower-impact solution.   I researched Dan's well-intended suggestion.   Given this product kills or repels living creatures, as suspected, "Safe Sea" should be renamed: SERIOUS ENVIRONMENTAL TOXIN.  It contains too many active and inactive ingredients to list here.  You do not want to introduce this toxin to the sea and it's residents, not to mention yourself.  Of course it's a human carcinogen.  There is no free lunch.  But we can do way better than this to mitigate our impact.

    Coincidentally, like Dan, I swim longish distances in Narragansett Bay in the hottest parts of the summer, with water in the 70's. I do just fine in a a full wet suit, a Mugiro neck protector (for abrasion protection but it also covers the entire neck from sun), swim cap, ear plugs, & goggles.  So little skin is exposed, jellies have simply not been a problem.  I make a simple paste of zinc oxide powder & a bit of shea butter for a tiny area of exposed face and the back of hands.  I never get sunburned or stung.  Super comfortable temperature-wise.  My wet suit is a thick one for cold water!  So it would be even cooler if I had a thinner gauge. 

    I advocate that we swimmers step up and be proactive with our community of swimmers and beach users to do everything we can to honor the waters and beaches and the environment in general as it's all one.   Enjoy your beautiful swims - 

  • Dan, maybe Friends of the Sea didn't read the ingredients in Safe Sea Lotion!  Seriously though, magnify the ingredients image.  Read the list of both active and inactive for yourself.  Look 'em up...you'll find they don't belong anywhere near a sea or a human body for that matter.   I WISH it wasn't so, how easy that would be - just smear on this nice friendly cream and creatures won't come anywhere near you!   Think about it...you're trying to repel and/or harm and/or kill some living creatures of the sea.  SafeSea is a weapon - toxins.  Shame on Friends of the Sea as far as I'm concerned.   Need a new name.  For both.