Let’s face it when the temperatures rise and we struggle to cool down, the thoughts of a nice cooling dip with friends in a river, canal, lake, reservoir or quarry is very tempting.
Let’s start off by looking at the dangers of open water swimming in reservoir’s below:
United Utilities Youtube Video on the dangers of swimming in reservoirs
The Royal Lifesaving Society (RLSS) have highlighted some of the dangers of open-water swimming below:
- Height – at which you jump into the water – sometimes called tombstoning
- The Depth of the water – can change depending on the season and is unpredictable
- Submerged objects – may not be visible such as rocks, vegetation, rubbish thrown into the water such as shopping trolley’s and pedal cycles
- Obstacles – people using the the waterway such as anglers, swimmers or kayackers
- Lack of safety equipment – as well as the increased difficulty to carry out a rescue eg remote location, increased hazards, no mobile phone signal or no lifeguards
- Cold water shock – will make swimming very challenging and increase the difficulty in someone getting out of the water
- Strong currents – can sweep even the strongest swimmers away
- River beds – unlike swimming pools, are uneven and vary in depth
- Water quality varies – can be subject to industrial and agricultural pollution.
With careful organisation and planning ahead the risks detailed above can be controlled.
The following video made by the RLSS tells the story of families who have sadly lost their loved ones in drowning incidents. Please have a watch.
Beneath the Surface – the families’ stories
Thank you for reading and we hope this article has helped you understand the dangers of swimming in open water. More useful links can be found below:
‘Doing It For Dylan’ – Becky Ramsey’s inspiring campaign to share drowning prevention messages after her son tragically lost his life to drowning
East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service – Open Water Safety Swimming Advice
United Utilities Safety advice – Reservoir Safety Advice
Full acknowledgements to the RLSS, United Utilities; RNLI, Canal and Rivert Trust for the use of material