FANCY a dip? This summer looks like being one of the best for swimmers as the sea is the warmest it has been for more than 15 years.

Sea temperatures measured daily show that the water off Brighton and Hove’s bathing beaches reached a balmy 21C this week.

Paul Smith, who runs the Pool To Pier sea swimming programme, tests the water every day and predicts it will be one of the best summers for Brighton bathers.

The average July sea temperature for Brighton, according to official satellite readings from the American National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is only 15.5C.

Yesterday they measured the sea temperature in Shoreham as 16.7c – higher than the July maximum of 16.6c. The temperatures given are the surface temperature, which is most relevant to recreational users Mr Smith said: “It’s the warmest July sea I have swam in here for over 15 years. Brighton appears to be heading for a record sea temperature this summer, with morning sea temperatures touching 20C and climbing to a remarkable 21C by the evening.

“Although the winter was one of our stormiest ever, the sea didn’t get too cold. Now following months of good weather we are enjoying one of the warmest seas for many, many years.

“The sea is likely to warm further until September – so the next few weeks are going to be really interesting. The sea offers everyone in the city a place to exercise, feel uplifted and to enjoy a bit of an adventure – we would always recommend people learn to become good swimmers first, though, and stay within lifeguarded areas”.

As the school holidays begin this week, families and holiday makers are set to hit the beach.

But swimmers are urged to exercise caution to stay safe.

Brighton and Hove’s lifeguards are now fully operational from Saltdean to Hove Lagoon and can give swimmers advice on tides, wind and other potential dangers.

A spokeswoman for the council advised people to always swim with a friend, don’t go out too far and swim parallel to the shore, swim within the bathing area between the flags and buoys, don’t drink alcohol and swim and let someone know where you are going.