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About Us

The Outdoors is Our Way of Life

We're a husband and wife team. Ivan and Kate, plus 4 kids!

We've spent our whole lives in the outdoors, from camping at 3 years old, to living in vans touring the world, to teaching climbing in the Alps, and lifeguarding South Devon's most popular beaches. We are passionate about the outdoors, and swimming in particular. We've started Open Water Devon, to bring the magic of outdoor swimming to more people. 

Our aim is to offer an exceptional service with your needs being tailored to, in a safe environment.

Our ethos is to leave our swim venues in better condition than when we arrived. We aim to minimise our impact on the outdoors and to use local, small business when possible. 

Find out more...
A selife of Kate infron of the sea
A photo of Ivan smiling infront on the sea

Ivan Burton

Owner and Guide

I learned to swim in the river Vyrnwy at the age of three, and was fortunate enough to grow up in the Welsh country side, swimming in lakes, rivers, and quarries . By my teens I was an avid surfer and by my late 20's had travelled the world surfing and swimming in some of the most beautiful spots in our globe's seas and oceans.

In my thirties I discovered the joys (and pains) of triathlon and have several Iron Man and half Iron Man events under my belt. For the last decade I have been working on the beautiful beaches of South Devon for the RNLI, putting fellow lifeguards through their paces, and keeping the public safe.

Through it all, being in the water is what I've loved, and now sharing that passion is what I'd like to offer.

My professional qualifications include:

Surf Science and Technology BSc 1st Class with Honours
RNLI Senior Beach Lifeguard

NARs Beach Lifeguard Certificate
SLS Surf Lifeguard Certificate

STA Pool Lifeguard

RNLI Casualty Care For Lifeguards

RNLI Inshore Rescue Boat Crew, Helm, and Trainer Assessor

RNLI All Terrain Vehicle Trainer Assessor

RNLI 4X4 Trainer Assessor 

RNLI Rescue Water Craft Operator

ASI Surf Instructor

RYA Maritime Radio Operator Certificate

STA Open Water Coach Level 2

Powerboating Level 2

Kate Burton

Owner and Guide

I have worked in the outdoor industry my entire life, teaching kayaking, canoeing, climbing, caving, coasteering, mountaineering and more. I have a keen interest in triathlon.  I also run a dance company called Ceroc and am a Silversmith for my own company Lib and Leo Jewellery.

I swim regularly in the pool, but prefer open water any day of the week. I regularly train in the sea but also love cold water dips in just skins all through the year!

I love open water swimming for the feeling of absolute freedom in the water. The exploration and excitement, but also the physical challenge whether it be bracing yourself for a skins swim in 5 degrees, or aiming for a 5km swim.

My professional qualifications include:
BC Level 2 Kayak Coach - Level 3 WW trained

BC 4 Star White Water Leader

BC 4 Star Sea Kayak Leader

BC 3 Star Canoe

BC Tidal Planning and Navigation

Foundation Safety Rescue Trained (FSRT)

White Water Safety and Rescue (WWSR) 

Advanced WWSR

RYA Seamanship Skills

RYA Level 2 Powerboating

16 hour outdoor first aid

STA Open Water Coach Level 2

Powerboating Level 2

STA Aquatic Tutor

Level 3 Award in Education and Training (AET)

  • How can I pay?
    We can accept payment via Paypal and Bank Transfer which will be sent to you when a booking has been made.
  • What happens if Covid changes my trip?
    We always operate under current government guidelines. However if your trip is cancelled due to a change in restrictions we will offer a full refund or free transfer to new dates. If you are suffering from Covid meaning you cannot attend, you may be eligble for a full or part refund. Please check out our refund policy.
  • What is your refund policy?
    REFUND POLICY:- -If we need to cancel, we offer a full refund, or free transfer to another date -If you cancel or need to transfer your booking 30 days before your swim we offer a full refund minus 10% admin fee per booking. -If you cancel 14 days before your swim we offer a 50% refund -If you cancel less than 14 days before your swim there is no refund
  • How do I know where to go?
    When confirmed and paid you will be sent a package of info with where to park and how to access the venue, along with a meet point. If you are on a bespoke course, a few days prior you will be contacted to arrange a meet point and time dependent on conditions.
  • I'm a solo swimming - can I book?
    Yes! You have 2 options... Join the wait list for a tour you're interested in, when the minimum is met we contact everyone with a date. Or hire us for a 1 on 1 bespoke tour.
  • What if the weather is awful?
    This will depend. If the seas are too rough for swimming we will find appropriate in land venues. However if this is not possible and the trip needs cancelling then we will offer a full refund, or transfer to new dates.
  • How well do I need to be able to swim?
    Each tour will have its own requirements, but the minimum is 15 minutes continuous swimming either breaststroke or freestyle, this is for the intro to open water course, our most challenging course is the Swoosh were you need to be able to confidently swim breast stroke. However - if you are booking onto a bespoke tour we can offer a range of swims meeting your needs. You will however need to have some competency. From April to October we offer coaching in open water to improve your swimming abilities.
  • What if our group is very mixed in ability?
    We will cater for all. Stronger swimmers will be doing extra laps, or will choose a venue that are appropriate for all levels. If you are the fastest in your group please be aware you will be expected to stay as a group.
  • What kit will I need to bring myself?
    You will need to bring with you all of your own swimming kit. This includes: - Appropriate swimwear, when the water is below 12 degrees we highly recommend a swimming wetsuit - Goggles, and swim hat if needed - Appropriate footwear for both walking over rough terrain, and swim shoes - A tow float (these can be pre-hired from us for £8 per day) - Neoprene hat, gloves and booties if needed - A waterproof pouch if you need to swim with medication/keys etc - Money for car parking/lunches/coffees
  • What will be provided on the tours?
    On the day you will be provided with essential safety cover, which is normally a qualified rescuer on a rescue board, or a trained coach in the water with you. We will also provide cake for afters, and any coaching or teaching aids we need.
  • Do you need insurance?
    Your safety is our top priority - always. We are fully qualified and insured in open water. However if you'd like you can take out holiday or personal cover for your tour.
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