Updated: May 28
The Daily Halacha Moment - Swimming On Shabbat 🏊 🏖
״כל השונה הלכות בכל יום - מובטח לו שהוא בן העולם הבא״ (נידה עג ע״א, מגילה כח:)
“Anyone who studies Halachot every day is guaranteed that he is destined for the world-to-come” (Megilla 28b, Niddah 73a)
May one go swimming on Shabbat?
There are various potential issues with swimming on Shabbat. Let's Dive In!
The Shulchan Aruch in 339:2 states that one may not go swimming in a body of water on Shabbat. The reason for this restriction is that in the Talmudic times it was common to have a type of life preserver made of reeds or even earthenware that would assist one when swimming. It was fairly common for such an item to become damaged and it was fairly easy to repair such an item as well. This being the case, the Chachamim understood that one may become too engrossed in one’s swimming activities and one may come to forget that it is Shabbat and repair such an item or even make one, thus transgressing the melachah of Makeh Be’patish. This prohibition stands in place even if there is little or even no likelihood that one may come to fix or make such a flotation device. See also in Shulchan Shlomo 339:1.
Nonetheless, even though there is basis to distinguish between swimming in a body of water such as a lake or river and swimming in a swimming pool, such as if there is a rim to the sides of the pool, nevertheless the poskim bring several issues with swimming on Shabbat even in a pool: 1. Swimming causes one’s garments to become wet, and is an issue of _Melaben_ (Laundering) and Sechitah (Squeezing).  2. There is an issue of squeezing one’s garments and one’s hair. 3. The issue doing a weekday activity that is not in the spirit of Shabbat.  4. There is a potential issue of Hotza’ah if it is in a place where there is no eruv.
Summary: Swimming in a body of water is rabbinically prohibited on Shabbat. Even swimming in a modern-day swimming pool should not be done on Shabbat.
Adapted From R'Yonatan Nacson's "Law's Of Shabbat" with some additions.
. See Igrot Moshe, E.H. 2:13.
. See Be’er Moshe 3:56.
See also in Yalkut Yosef, Shabbat, vol. 2, pp. 7-14 who discusses all of the potential issues with swimming on Shabbat. See also in Minchat Yitzchak 6:32; Piskei Teshuvot 339:1 and Hilchot Shabbat b’Shabbat 18:24.
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