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Stay safe around open water – don’t take the risk

Planning and Environment
15:55, Thursday, 23rd July 2020

The council is warning people about the importance of water safety and urging them not to put themselves in danger as the summer holiday begins.

During warmer weather increasing numbers of people, especially children, put themselves at risk of drowning in open water and on average 40 to 50 children drown each year in the UK. It is important to teach children to spot and keep away from dangers associated with open water.

The dangers of open water include:

  • It is very cold in comparison to indoor pools or shallow water – the initial shock of falling into the open water may cause panic and the weight of a person’s clothes will make it more difficult for them to swim
  • There may be hidden currents
  • It can be difficult to get out of open water with steep and slimy muddy banks or vertical mooring points
  • It can be deep with hidden shelves and sharp drop-offs close to the bank’s edge
  • There may be hidden rubbish hiding below the water surface
  • There are no lifeguards or lifesaving aids nearby
  • The water may be polluted with chemicals and may make you ill

Cllr David Rose, cabinet member for Environment, said:

“We want children and young people to enjoy the summer months and make sure they stay safe.

“When the temperatures increase we see more and more people putting themselves in danger around open water at our local nature reserves. We would urge people not to swim or enter open water as it is very dangerous.

“Many hidden hazards lay below the surface of the water, and the temperature can suddenly drop, putting any swimmer in difficulty. Open water is not a safe environment to swim in and should be avoided.”