The Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK), the drowning prevention charity, has issued a warning as temperatures across Britain are set to continue.
The charity has appealed for people to take note of simple safety messages to avoid a repeat of previous summers when people losing their lives cooling off in unlifeguarded open water, not suitable for swimming.
So, with temperatures on the rise, it is important people make the most of the weather and enjoy the water but do so safely at sites designated for swimming.
RLSS UK’s Director of Research and Education, Mike Dunn, said: “In previous years we have seen a tragic amount of preventable deaths as people flocked to open water sites not suitable for swimming. These sites included rivers, quarries, lakes and reservoirs – all of which have many dangers including very cold water, currents, obstacles and uneven depths. They look so inviting but can be deadly.
In 2017, statistics reveal nearly 700 UK citizens lost their lives and each year, around 2,100 people in England alone are admitted to Accident and Emergency as a result of non-fatal drowning incidents with thousands more incidences occurring in Wales and Scotland.
This latest warning comes following media reports of two deaths on Monday (25 June) where a woman drowned swimming off Eastbourne, East Sussex and a man died after being seen struggling in a lake in Nutfield, Surrey. In addition, a teenage boy drowned in the River Aire on 27 June.
Also, a child is reported missing after getting into difficulty in Westport Lake, Stoke-on-Trent. Two other children were rescued from the lake.
Mike added: “We want people to enjoy water, but safely and sensibly – using their common sense and listening to advice. Do not be tempted to cool off in open water, we do not want another summer of tragedy.”
A number of Woodkirk Academy students have been reported to school as they have been caught swimming in the East Ardsley reservoir. Mr Cook delivered assemblies to the whole school warning of the dangers of open water swimming. These were followed up with further water-safety advice in Personal Tutor time. It is crucial that our students understand the risks of swimming in the reservoir, Rein Road Quarry or even Batley Boat Park.
Share the below advice and take note of the dangers to avoid you or your son/daughter from becoming one of the statistics -
Dangers of open water include–
The height of the fall or jump if tombstoning The depth of the water – this changes and is unpredictable Submerged objects may not be visible Obstacles or other people in the water Lack of safety equipment and increased difficulty for rescue
The shock of cold water can make swimming difficult and increase the difficulty in getting out of the water Strong currents can rapidly sweep people away Uneven banks and river beds Water quality eg toxic algal blooms and industrial/agricultural pollution
All of these hazards can be controlled through proper organisation and planning.
If someone is in difficulty in the water –
Shout reassurance to them and shout for help and ensure the emergency services are on their way (call 999 or 112) Without endangering yourself, see if you can reach out to them, extend your reach with a stick, pole, item of clothing, lie down or stay secure. Alternatively throw something buoyant to them such as a ring buoy, part filled plastic container, ball or anything that will float. Keep your eye on them all the time and shout reassurance urging them to propel themselves to safety