How to Choose a Swimsuit for Maximum Visibility

Have you ever thought about how a lifeguard might see your bathing suit in a busy pool? Here is some food for thought as you make your choice of swimsuit for you and your child this summer. The above graphic indicates a variety of colors used for swimsuits and how they are likely to appear under water in both turbulent and still water. The pool bottom used in the pictures is a light color, like both of UVAC’s pools.

Not all swimsuit colors look the same under water

Some show up well and others look almost invisible once submerged. When your child goes under water to play or if they should have an involuntary submersion incident; lifeguards and parents want to be able to quickly identify any person on the bottom of the pool clearly and then respond accordingly.

Visibility changes with increases in water disturbance

The first pictures show what a suit color looks like while under water that is relatively undisturbed. The picture below that is the same swimsuit color with water disturbance, like in a busy pool where children are splashing and playing.

White and blue suits are almost impossible to see

Other colors are quite visible under the water when it is relatively undisturbed. However, many of the colors are much harder to see under water when there is surface agitation.

Darker colors are more visible on the light pool bottom

But darker colors can often be confused with leaves, dirt, or shadows in a lake or ocean. You should try to avoid swim suits with lots of dark colors as well. The clear winners are the neon colors pink and orange.

So, next time you go to buy a swim suit, think bright colors for better visibility!

Swim suit color test results Image used by permission of Aquatic Safety Connection.

Paraphrased from an article by Whitney Benedetti Aquatics and Activities Director at the Rochester Athletic Club.

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