Our lakes and rivers can be dangerous for even the strongest swimmer
SPOT THE DANGERS What dangers can you see in these photos?
Steep and slippery banks The river bank is about 10 feet above the water just here. If you fell in, how would you get out?
Fast currents Even if the water is quite shallow, this current could knock you off your feet!
Fallen trees and other subsurface hazards If you can’t see the bottom, how do you know what’s there?
What are the dangers of swimming in a river or lake? Very cold water You can’t see the bottom Depth unknown, but can be very deep Strong currents Hazards such as rocks, weeds and rubbish Sewage and pollution Disease/rats No lifeguard
These hazards have been spotted in local rivers! Shopping trolleys Plastic sheeting and baler twine Broken bottles Drowned sheep and other dead animals Disease-carrying rats Drug users’ syringes
Why is it safer to swim in a swimming pool? The water is at a comfortable temperature You can see the bottom and know the depth There are no currents There is no rubbish or debris There are no hazards such as weeds or rocks The water is clean and doesn’t carry disease There is a lifeguard present
What should you do? Phone 999 and ask for the Fire Service Emergency calls are free – even if you have no credit You don’t need to unlock keypad 999 works even in signal blackspots DO NOT ENTER THE WATER!
After the 999 call You can still help the victim before the firefighters arrive Throw them a lifebelt, football or plastic bottle Talk to them – don’t panic, help is on the way Tell them to float on back, feet pointing downstream If possible, reach out with a long stick or dog lead – IMPROVISE. Lie flat on your stomach to avoid being pulled in Do not try to get them out – the current will swing them in to the bank
In Winter Lakes and rivers have all the same dangers in winter, but also : They may be several feet deeper due to flood water Any current will be much stronger Melting ice or snow makes the water much colder Ice on ponds and lakes will hardly ever take your weight If you fall through the ice, it can close over your head
Remember these key messages Learn to recognise the dangers Children should not go to the river alone Stay out of the water Learn how to help someone else safely