Can You Swim with an Ankle Monitor?

Ankle monitors are surprisingly sensitive. If you’re not careful, you could easily set one off, and then you’d have a lot of explaining to do to people who are not likely to trust you. One question about ankle monitors that comes up often is: can you swim with an ankle monitor?

can you swim with an ankle monitor

No, you should not swim with an ankle monitor. While these devices are designed to be water-resistant, meaning they can handle a splash or even a quick shower, they are not intended for prolonged exposure to water, especially when submerged.

Understanding the risks associated with swimming or submerging your ankle monitor is vital not only for the device’s longevity but also for your legal standing. Let’s delve deeper into what these risks are and how best you can manage hygiene and unforeseen accidents when wearing an ankle monitor.

Risks of Swimming with an Ankle Monitor

Risk of Damaging the Device

While ankle monitors are water-resistant, they are not waterproof. There are various definitions of what water-resistant and waterproof is, but generally speaking, water-resistant means it should not be submerged underwater.

A water resistant device may technically be able to keep water out at shallow depths of a few feet, but prolonged submersion would allow water to seep in, damaging the device.

Technical Malfunctions

As mentioned, prolonged exposure to water or swimming in deep water could increase the likelihood of the device malfunctioning. A malfunctioning ankle monitor could compromise the tracking abilities of the device and might lead to problems with law enforcement. It is best to minimize the risks by avoiding long periods of swimming or staying in deep water.

Potential Consequences with Law Enforcement

Swimming with an ankle monitor can potentially raise suspicions of tampering. If the device gets damaged while you’re in the water, this might be interpreted as a deliberate attempt to interfere with the monitor’s tracking capabilities. This could result in serious legal consequences. Always follow guidelines and rules set by law enforcement or your parole officer to prevent any misunderstandings.

How to Manage Hygiene with an Ankle Monitor

Ankle monitors are designed to be worn 24/7, which can create challenges when it comes to maintaining your personal hygiene. In this section, we’ll discuss a few tips to help you stay clean and comfortable without damaging or interfering with your ankle monitor.


Showering is the safest way to clean yourself while wearing an ankle monitor. Since you’re not allowed to take them off, you can just shower with them on, and in fact is encouraged for your personal hygiene. When you shower, make sure the water temperature isn’t too hot, as extreme temperatures can damage the device.

To protect your ankle monitor even further, you can cover it up with a waterproof sleeve or bag, and seal it up with waterproof tape when taking a shower. These covers are designed to keep water out while still allowing you to move and shower comfortably.

Avoiding Submersion

Although showering is a safe way to maintain your hygiene with an ankle monitor, submerging the device in water, like in a bathtub or swimming pool, is not recommended. As mentioned earlier, ankle monitors are water-resistant, but submersion can still cause damage or be interpreted as an attempt to tamper with the device.

Avoiding Steam

Do you like your showers scalding hot? Unfortunately, with an ankle monitor on, you should consider lowering the water temperature. Steam can potentially cause the ankle monitor to malfunction. 

In a similar vein, staying too long in the shower without the bathroom fan on or windows open can cause steam to accumulate, putting your ankle monitor at risk of malfunctioning.

What If It Gets Submerged? Immediate Steps to Take

So, you accidentally submerged your ankle monitor. What do you do? Stay calm; here is what you can do to minimize any potential issues or damage to the device.

Firstly, as soon as you realize that your ankle monitor has been submerged, take it out of the water and gently pat it dry gently using a soft cloth. Avoid rubbing or applying too much pressure, as this could potentially harm the device. Remember, the goal is to remove excess water without causing any further damage.

Once the ankle monitor has been patted dry, DO NOT be tempted to use items like heaters, hairdryers, or other electronic devices to force dry the wet monitor. These methods may seem like a quick fix, but they can potentially cause more harm by overheating, which could lead to malfunction or permanent damage to the device.

Lastly, if you believe that your ankle monitor might be damaged after getting wet, it’s crucial that you notify the appropriate authority or personnel as soon as possible. This way, they can assess the situation and provide you with further guidance or a replacement monitor, if necessary. Don’t hesitate or try to hide the issue, as it’s better to address it promptly to avoid any potential complications.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can sweat damage an ankle monitor?

No, sweat won’t damage your ankle monitor. These devices are designed to be water-resistant, allowing them to withstand normal day-to-day activities, including sweating during exercise.

What happens if I accidentally jump into a pool?

If you accidentally jump into a pool with your ankle monitor, it’s important to get out as soon as possible. While most ankle monitors are waterproof to some degree, submerging them in water for an extended period may cause damage. If you’re unsure about your monitor’s water resistance, ask your probation officer.

Should I wear a protective cover over the ankle monitor while showering?

Yes, it’s a good idea to wear a protective cover over your ankle monitor while showering. Even though many ankle monitors are built to be water-resistant, a protective cover provides an extra layer of protection from water exposure. You can use a waterproof sleeve or bag to keep it dry.

How long can an ankle monitor be exposed to water before it’s at risk of damage?

Is this something you really want to test? It’s best to limit their exposure to water in general. The duration they can withstand water exposure varies depending on the specific monitor and its manufacturer.

How will I know if my ankle monitor is damaged by water?

Some signs that your ankle monitor may be damaged by water include malfunctioning, erratic behavior, or unusual alerts. If you notice any of these issues, get in touch with your probation officer immediately to report the problem and receive further instructions.


Photo Credit: reverendlukewarm (CC BY-SA 2.0)