Water Safety/Health Advice

BAD Tri is working in partnership with Public Health England and Bristol City Council to develop and share best practice for mass participation events such as the Bristol Harbourside Triathlon.

In order to continually improve this event it is important we receive your feedback. Please read the health advice before the race and complete the online survey following the race.

What are the risks?

There are risks from swimming in water not normally designated as bathing water. The main risks are of a gastro intestinal upset following the ingestion of water. Other risks exist from exposure of cuts and wounds to potentially contaminated water.

These risks can be reduced if simple preventative measures are followed:

  • It is important to always cover exposed cuts and wounds with a water proof dressing.
  • It is inadvisable to ingest the water and efforts must be made not to ingest the water.
  • Immediately after the swim, it is good practice not to ingest food or drink with wet hands, therefore, if possible, a quick drying of the hands and face with a paper towel may be a good preventative measure to undertake.

Public Health England has produced a guidance note for participants. Please make sure you read the guidance below in advance of the race.

Download Public Health England guidance note

Download Floating Harbour Health Advice Leaflet for Recreational users

Water quality monitoring

The swim leg of the Bristol Harbourside Triathlon takes place in the Cumberland Basin, part of Bristol’s historic harbour. The water is predominantly fresh water from the River Avon. However, it can get contaminated, especially after heavy rainfall.

Cumberland Basin is not a designated European Bathing Water (like beaches are) and swimming is usually prohibited in the harbour. The Harbour Master has given special permission for the Bristol Triathlon swim to go ahead subject to water quality meeting the current European Bathing Water Standard.

BAD Tri and Bristol City Council take the health of participants seriously and therefore ensure we have as much information on water quality on the day of the swim before allowing the race to go ahead.

Water quality sampling is carried out daily by Bristol City Council in the lead up to the event and on race day. The Public Health England laboratory analyses the samples and the results are checked against the bathing water standard.

A decision will be taken on the morning of the triathlon, taking into account the results from the previous day and rainfall from the past 24 hours.

In the event the water quality fails the European Bathing Water Standards, the swim discipline of the event will be cancelled and the race will convert to a Duathlon.

Hygiene facilities

Please make sure you use these facilities before eating or drinking to minimise your risk and remain free from contracting an infection.

Online Health Survey

We are working in partnership with Public Health England and Bristol City Council to monitor the risks to health from mass participation endurance events such as the Bristol Triathlon.

Help us make this a better and safer event please complete a short online survey to feedback any comments you may have to the event organisers.

Participants who complete the survey will be entered into a prize draw to win a free place in the Bristol Harbourside Triathlon 2017.

To access the survey, please click on the link below after the race.


If you have a health advice query in relation to the triathlon, please complete the box below and your query will be forwarded to Public Health England for a response.

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