Whether you're training for a triathlon or just trying to dive into a challenging new discipline, open-water swimming is a good way to go.

But while hitting the waves is undoubtedly a killer total-body workout, it also comes with its share of risks. In most cases, you can't see what's below or around you. You're not following neat lines and barriers to keep you swimming straight. And there are countless uncontrollable elements always threatening to throw your workout (and safety) for a loop.

To help you get past those formidable psychological barriers, we turned to two kickass experts for advice on staying safe in open water:

  • Lynne Cox is a record-breaking long-distance open-water swimmer with more than 40 years of experience (two of which she spent learning risk management with the Navy SEALs). Twice she's held the record for the fastest crossing of the English Channel from England to France. She's also the author of Open Water Swimming Manual and Swimming in the Sink.
  • David Marsh is a Team Speedo coach, and served as head coach of the 2016 U.S. Women’s Olympic Swimming Team. (They won a lot of medals.)

"Open water is the most natural way to enjoy the sport of swimming," Marsh says. Here are recommendations on doing so safely.