With the hot weather upon us and the temptation to take a cooling dip, residents are being reminded to stay safe around water this summer.
While a pond or canal may look safe and inviting, it can harbour many hidden dangers which can put people at risk. Swimming in cold water poses serious risks even for the strongest of swimmers.
During the school holidays, and in hot weather in particular, increasing numbers of people, especially children, put themselves at risk of drowning. In 2017 255 people drowned accidentally or through natural causes in water in the UK (RoSPA) and in 2011, 22 teenagers aged 15-19 drowned accidentally in the UK, with the majority of these deaths happening in inland waters.
To keep safe when in, on or beside water, always follow the Water Safety Code.
Spot the dangers - water may look safe, but it can be dangerous. Learn to spot and keep away from dangers which include very cold temperatures, hidden currents, deep water, rubbish like shopping trolleys or broken glass, steep banks making it difficult to get out and pollution or contaminants in the water which can cause serious illness
Take safety advice - special flags and notices may warn of danger and their warnings should be followed.
Go together - children should always go with an adult, not by themselves. An adult can point out dangers or help if somebody gets into trouble.
Learn how to help - people may be able to help if they know what to do in an emergency. If someone is in difficulty, get help, preferably a lifeguard if there is one nearby, or dial 999 and ask for the police at inland water sites and the coastguard at the beach.
Swimming at a staffed swimming pool where lifeguards are on duty is the safest and most fun option. There are no lifeguards at quarries, canals, lakes, reservoirs or rivers.
Councillor Nicolas Barlow, cabinet member for health said:
When the sun is shining and the water is shimmering invitingly it can be hugely tempting to take a dip to cool off.
“But swimming in canals, ponds, reservoirs and the like is fraught with hidden dangers. We would urge people wanting to cool off in the summer months to make the most of our leisure centres, which are even more appealing this year as they are all running free school holiday swimming sessions.”
For further information on water safety contact Rachael Doyle on 01384 815547 or firstname.lastname@example.org