In hot weather increasing numbers of children put themselves at risk of drowning from swimming in rivers, lakes, canals or reservoirs. It can be tempting to cool off in open waters, but there are many dangers, even for a strong swimmer.
Examples of open waters include canals, rivers, reservoirs and lakes.
There are many risks to swimming in open waters:
- The water can be extremely cold, even on a hot day. The shock of cold water affects your muscles making it very difficult to swim and increases the difficulty of getting out of the water if you get into a dangerous situation
- There is a lack of safety equipment and increased difficulty for rescue if you do get into a difficulty. There are also no life guards to help
- It is difficult to estimate the depth of the water and this changes and is unpredictable with uneven river beds
- Underwater objects and hazards may not be visible and there may be hidden rubbish like shopping trolleys or glass.
- Strong currents can rapidly sweep people away even if you are strong swimmer
- Open waters are not meant for swimming and so have steep banks which are very difficult to get in and out of
- The water might be polluted with toxic algal blooms and industrial/agricultural pollution and therefore can make you ill.
The RLSS website provides lots of helpful information on water safety including water safety resources which encourage a safe relationship with the water.
Enjoy the weather, but keep yourself safe.