Thanet RNLI Community Safety

Do You Like To Cool Off In Open Water During Hot Weather? How To Spot The Hazards.


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:

Sign up to our monthly newsletter to find out more about our lifesaving work

‘Doing It For Dylan’ – Becky Ramsey’s inspiring campaign to share drowning prevention messages after her son tragically lost his life to drowning

Canal and River Trust Safety Information

RLSS Drowning Prevention Week

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

How To Stay Safe This Summer – Drowning Prevention Week
Reminding and Refreshing Beach visitors on Summer Water Safety Tips

The Summer months are a fabulous time to enjoy water activity either at the coast or inland at home and abroad. Unfortunately, some people are prepared to take risks whilst on holiday which they wouldn’t necessarily do and not take some basic precautions.  We are committed to sharing safety messaging to as wide an audience as possible working closely with other organisations and agencies to help prevent drowning incidents.  Here are the Royal Lifesaving Society (RLSS) Summer Water Safety top tips to help keep you safe:

1.  If you’re looking for a place to cool off always find a lifeguarded swimming site.




2.  Water at open water and inland sites is often much colder than it looks, cold water can affect your ability to swim and self-rescue.

3.  Don’t go too far – Always swim parallel to the shore, that way you’e never too far away from it.




4.  It’s stronger than it looks – Currents in the water can be very strong. If you find yourself caught in a riptide – don’t swim against it – you’ll tire yourself out. Swim with the current and call for help.




5.  Bring a friend – Always bring a friend when you go swimming so if anything goes wrong you’ve got someone there to help.

What is ‘Cold Water Shock’?

Where is your nearest lifeguarded beach?

Free Children’s Swimming Lessons

Drowning Prevention Week