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

National Fire Chief’s Drowning Prevention & Water Safety week
Pictured with the Margate Fire Station Duty Watch

Drowning Prevention Week

This week I have been actively supporting the National Fire Chief’s Drowning Prevention and Water Safety campaign. This campaign has seen a huge amount of innovative engagement activity, including talks to community groups, water safety equipment ‘show and tell’, stands at reservoirs and throw bag training amongst others. This activity has been widespread across the UK involving the respective Fire & and Rescue Services’, Coastguard Volunteer Rescue Teams, RNLI, water companies, water safety campaigners, Search and Rescue Teams, Police Services’ and water safety groups all collaboratively spreading and sharing the water safety and drowning prevention messages. On social media the twitter #BewaterAware has been shared extensively to ensure the message is spread as far as possible and even ‘trended’ 5th on Monday 23rd, although the birth of the Royal baby was ‘trending’ as number one! This campaign has been spreadheaded by the Chief Fire Officers Association Drowning Prevention Lead and East Sussex Chief Fire Officer, Dawn Whittacker

National Fire Chiefs – Be Water Aware Campaign

Different Focus

Each day of the campaign, has seen a focus on a different activity, namely Monday – exploring the waterside equipment aka life rings and throw bags that are now standard around our rivers, canals, coasts and waterways, Tuesday – runners and walkers safety, Wednesday – ‘Away From Home’ (holidays in the UK and abroad and the emphasis on being safe whilst swimming), Thursday – Away From Home, Friday and Saturday will be alcohol related themes (due to the weekend potential for higher rates of socialising).

More young children die in pools abroad on holiday than do overall in the UK!

Kent’s Community Responder Programme

Kent Fire and Rescue Service have teamed up to work collaboratively with the RNLI to roll-out the Community Responder programme. The Community Safety team are delivering the training on behalf of the RNLI to train businesses (at selected locations around Maidstone, close to the River Medway) in water safety and how to deploy the throw-bags and will receive a free throw-line bag to retain on their premises inreadiness for an incident in the river. If this is well received by businesses, it may be rolled out to other areas in the county where water poses a risk in built-up localities.  If you are an organisation or business in Kent and want to find out more then email the Community Safety Team.

 

Effectively deploying a throw bag to a water casualty

Thanks for reading about this vitally important campaign. Please share far and wide, it just could save someone’s life.

Here are just some of the very useful drowning prevention groups, organisations and individuals, so check them out for more advice:

Doing It For Dylan

Kent Fire and Rescue Service Drowning Prevention

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service Water Safety

Coast Safe – Devon and Cornwall Police Water Safety

West Mercia Search and Rescue ‘Home and Dry’ campaign

RLSS – Don’t Drink and Drown

RoSPA – Water Safety Advice whilst on holiday

RNLI – Dog Walking Safety Advice

National Chief Fire Officers Drowning Prevention campaign

Safe and Dry – No More River Deaths (Kent Search and Rescue)

National Water Safety Forum

Durham City Council – Don’t Drink and Drown campaign

Carmanthenshire Water Safety Partnership