These hidden dangers can include machinery, extremely cold water, unknown depths and strong underwater currents. This is why Northumbrian Water operates a ‘no unauthorised swimming’ policy at its reservoirs across the North East.
Water is pumped from these reservoirs through to the water supply chain so even the strongest of swimmers can get into serious difficulty.
Cold water shock is another very serious safety concern, as it can kill in less than a minute. Even when the sun is out and the weather is hot, the water underneath the surface can be really cold as the heat of the sun cannot reach it.
Don Coe, Northumbrian Water’s Waterside Parks operations manager, said: “We want people get out and enjoy the good weather, but not at the expense of their own safety and that of their friends and family.
“There is always the temptation to have fun wherever there is water, but please be aware that reservoirs contain a number of hidden dangers, which make them unsuitable for swimming or paddling.
"People are also often not as aware as they should be of issues such as cold water shock. This can prove fatal as people′s bodies react to the temperature change and they lose their ability to respond and save their own lives."
Northumbrian Water offers the following advice to help people stay safe around water:
• Take notice of any safety advice or warning signs, such as, no swimming signs, a red flag or “danger deep water” signs
• Always accompany children. Stay close to the group you are with and stay in sight at all times
• Never go near water if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs – this is the number one cause of water-related deaths
• Stay clear of strong currents, weirs, rapids and reservoir edges
• Watch out for slippery banks, soft sand and rocks
• Messing around can be dangerous - don’t splash water at other people or push them over.
• Never go deeper than welly height when playing in rivers as the strong current can easily knock you over.
• Cover any cuts and scratches with water proof plasters. Weil’s Disease can be caught from rat urine
• Learn to swim - it could save your life.
For more information on staying safe around water see - https://www.nwl.co.uk/your-home/learn-about-water/water-safety.aspx