Cameron Gosling, aged only fourteen, lost his life when he jumped into the River Wear near Bishop Auckland in July 2015. The sudden change in temperature meant he got into difficulty and was unable to survive the effects of cold-water shock.
Picture: Fiona Gosling with Cyle Gosling (Cameron's brother)
Fiona Gosling, Cameron’s mum pushes for all ten to 16-year-olds to be taught the dangers of cold water shock and jumping into any open water. She works with Durham County Council on its ‘Dying to Be Cool’ campaign, to try to help prevent future tragedies.
Fiona said: “With the attraction of open water in this warm weather please remember accidents do happen, cold water shock can be instant and lives can be lost. We urge people to THINK before acting, PREPARE before doing, and respect your surroundings. Be water aware! Be careful.”
The campaign highlights the dangers of jumping into rivers, which like reservoirs, have extremely cold temperatures even on the hottest days. This can cause cold water shock to your body, meaning you are unable to swim, you are gasping for breath and you potentially could drown, even in the calmest of waters.
All reservoirs owned by Northumbrian Water are working pieces of engineering, which means beneath the water there is large machinery that works to pump water out to local treatment works. The strong under currents and unknown depths are also a very big danger, which is why Northumbrian Water operates a ‘no swimming’ policy except for with accredited organisations. Trying to swim while water is being pumped out of the reservoirs can put even the strongest of swimmers in serious danger.
Don Coe, Northumbrian Waters’ Waterside Parks Operations Manager said: “We really do want our customers to visit our Waterside Parks and have a fantastic experience, but the number one priority for us and our Ranger team is for people to please go home, stay safe, go back to your loved ones. It may be tempting, but please keep out of the reservoir, it is not safe.”
Cllr John Shuttleworth, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for community safety, said: “Rivers, lakes and reservoirs may seem very appealing when the weather is nice, especially after more than a year of lockdowns, but we would strongly encourage everyone to remember just how dangerous they can be whatever the time of year.
“Many people die in open water every year and the risks are many: from strong currents which can sweep you away from safety to cold water shock which can cause your heart to stop if you jump in without acclimatising. Jumping into water also puts you at risk of hitting underwater obstacles which might not be visible from the surface – potentially a cause of serious injury.
“We are glad to be teaming up with Northumbrian Water and Fiona Gosling to promote Drowning Prevention Week and hope people remember these important safety messages all year round.”
With so many rivers, reservoirs, lake and quarries in the area, Northumbrian Water and Durham County Council are asking people to spread this message as far and wide as they can, so we do not have any more tragic stories this summer.
And don’t forget to follow our social pages to share our safety messages with your family and friends F/nwwatersideparks F/durhamcouncil
Drowning Prevention Week is organised annually by the Royal Lifesaving Society UK and aims to equip everybody across the UK and Ireland with the skills and knowledge to make the right decisions about water safety.
This year’s campaign runs until 26 June and more information can be found at www.rlss.org.uk/pages/category/drowning-prevention-week-2021