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Warning over “extremely dangerous” open water swimming

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The sun is set to shine over the Bank Holiday weekend – but people have been urged not to cool off by swimming in open water.

Council bosses have warned people not to risk putting more pressure on the NHS during the coronavirus pandemic. Every year around 400 people on average die in the UK from drowning, with thousands more rescued but left with permanent and life-changing injuries.

Open water is normally colder and deeper than swimming pools, and can induce shock and panic for people inexperienced in swimming in such waters.

Councillor Nicolas Barlow, cabinet member for health and adult social care, said:

Open water swimming can be extremely dangerous and a risk to life. If things do go wrong, there is often no-one around to help until it is too late.
While there is no law against it in this country, we would urge people to be sensible and avoid swimming in quarries, canals, lakes, reservoirs or rivers.
Our NHS and emergency services have enough on their plates as it is fighting the coronavirus pandemic and we need to protect them so they can save the lives of our loved ones. Keep you and your family safe.

The Royal Lifesaving Society, UK British Triathlon and Swim England all recommend newcomers to open water swimming to only use operated and supervised venues with safety crews present. Many of those are currently closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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