As warmer temperatures have hit the North East in recent days, Northumbrian Water has issued safety advice for people tempted to play in or around water during the summer months.
The advice also coincides with the Royal Life Saving Society’s Drowning Prevention Week (16 to 26 June) and is aimed at helping people to stay safe around lakes, reservoirs, canals, ponds and the sea.
Don Coe, Northumbrian Water’s Waterside Parks operations manager, said: “We want people to have fun and enjoy the sunshine, but not at the expense of their own safety and that of their friends and family.
“Learning to swim really can save your life and, while swimming pools are the safest places to swim, there is always the temptation to have fun wherever there is water, such as reservoirs or lakes. This is especially true during periods of warm weather like the one we have been experiencing in the last few days.
"Northumbrian Water has a ′no unauthorised swimming′ policy in place on all of its reservoirs. Reservoirs are operational assets, which contain unseen hazards that have the potential to be life threatening if water sports, including swimming, are not carried out by authorised clubs and personnel.
"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."
The company’s checklist of safety precautions advises:
• 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.
The advice can be found and shared using the following link: https://www.nwl.co.uk/your-home/learn-about-water/water-safety.aspx
The Amateur Swimming Association has a web page designed to support safe swimming, including a pool-finder search tool: http://www.swimming.org/asa/facilities/get-safe-4-summer/