DOZENS of people braved the freezing temperatures to go for a swim in the sea on New Year's Eve. 

The New Year's Eve Dip saw crowds gather at Golden Sands in Whitehaven as groups of people waded into the icy Irish sea. 

The event was organised by The Golden Sands Polar Bear Club who host the dip on an annual basis on New Year's Eve. 

The event began at 3.30pm as the crowds entered the water, before heading along to The Beacon museum cafe to warm up.

John O'Brien, who helped to organise the event, said: "We organised this in 1998, the first one, and it was a little thing that's become what it has - involving the coastguard and people signing disclaimers to take part.

"People have been raising money for lots of different causes which is a good thing. We've never done it this late but we always do what the coastguard tells us to.

"I'm one of the organisers along with a few other people and we're part of The Golden Sands Polar Bear Club.

"We always go in on New Year's Eve but it is usually earlier than this. People do it for charities of their own choice, this year I've supported Bee Unique."

Tim Chittingdon, operations manager for the Workington Lifeboat Station said: "The lifeboat team have came down today as an exercise but we're taking some time to stand by the cold water swim.

"Some of our lads are helping out for safety numbers just to keep an eye on things and to make sure no one gets into any trouble.

"This is the annual New Year's Eve dip ran by a group in Whitehaven; they're very good and do support us with some funds from the money they raise and allow our fundraisers to collect from the viewers.

"It's a fundraising activity for us and something we're glad to be able to provide a bit of support too.

Whitehaven News: New Year's Eve dip New Year's Eve dip (Image: Newsquest)

"I'd like to make it very clear to people that going swimming in cold water is not a trivial activity and if you're going to go swimming in the sea or the lakes during winter you need to make sure you take the correct precautions!"

READ MORE: Hardy swimmers ready for New Year's Eve dip at Whitehaven Golden Sands