Mental Health Awareness Week 2021

Open Water Swimming

Recently, you may have seen a lot more people around the Aberdeen coastline heading in to the sea for a dook…


 There are two groups based in the city who regularly swim in the waters off the North East coastline; Swim Free Aberdeen and The Wet Bandits.

George Jamieson from Swim Free Aberdeen has set himself the challenge of swimming 60 miles before his 60th birthday in what he calls “sweeming towards my bus pass”, to raise money for Mental Health Aberdeen.

You can make a donation to the cause at

The Wet Bandits

Kieran Moroney from The Wet Bandits explains how the group started and how the open water swimming community in Aberdeen has brought people together…

“My friend Sam Brill introduced me to dips in the sea at the beginning of January. I normally spend my summers in the rivers but this is the first time I have swam in the sea since a child. The benefits I felt after leaving the water are immense, the sense of achievement along with the rush of adrenaline is incredible.

To start the group, I rounded up a few friends that felt the same way about the cold water and made a WhatsApp group to communicate instead of me messaging everyone separately. Then I progressed to making the Wet Bandits Instagram to share the amazing sunrises etc and it has grown ever since, breaking over 2000 followers.
It has been really great to be able to bring people together. I think everyone is a little lost just now, not many people have a direction and although things are getting better in regard to covid, a normal life is still quite far away.
We can see light at the end of the tunnel but we have no idea how long this tunnel is. Mental health issues have increased exponentially so having something to get up for and to do with a group of like minded people is a great way to lift your mood and be a part of something positive.
I get messages all the time from people that are really interested about cold-water swimming but they are bit apprehensive and worried. I always advise that they should come down to the beach and watch the sunrise as it is really something special on a good day. This way they get to actually see us in the water and feel the community vibe we have down there, once they have witnessed that, it’s hard not want to be a part of the gang.
I was never a morning person either and have always struggled to get up in the morning but once I got into doing these swims, I found it so much easier, when I am away working offshore I really miss it.


The vibe and feeling we have created down there in the mornings are something special. As I mentioned, I think we were all a little lost after the going through another lock down and the social aspect of these swims is vital for people’s mental health.
Hardly anyone knew each other before this and now new friends and relationships have been formed. I think Aberdeen has always had a strong sense of community spirit; people are always there ready to help each other when needed.
Sometimes activities like this are needed to highlight the positive aspects of our city and the people that live here. We have amazing assets on our doorstep, not many places in the world have access to stuff like this.
If we can take any positives from this horrible period, the pandemic has pushed people to explore the outdoors and discover new experiences and hope it continues even after society opens up again.”

To find out more about The Wet Bandits and how you can join them for a dook follow their Instagram page –  @wet_bandits2021

Mental Health Awareness Week 2021