When the weather turns warm, the natural thing to do is to be in or around the water. Hanging out by the river or beach on a hot day is a great way to help beat the heat.
But the Environment Agency is warning people not to take unnecessary risks while cooling off and enjoying rivers this summer.
Water can contain hazards, particularly in and around structures such as bridges, locks and flood channels. Unexpectedly cold waters or strong currents can also catch bathers off guard.
Rivers are great places to have fun, get close to nature and spend time with friends and family, but vigilance can save lives and water-related accidents can be avoided by knowing how to stay safe.
Andrew Graham, Waterways Operations Manager for the Environment Agency, said:
Rivers are fantastic places to visit during the summer. However, we want people to enjoy them without putting themselves at risk. At this time of year it might feel warm out of the water but river water is still very cold.
Over the last few years we have worked hard to get the safety message out to children and parents, stressing that people stay away from the edge, that children must be accompanied by an adult and swimming should be confined to recognised swimming areas, swimming pools and lidos.
We often see youngsters jumping off bridges along many of our rivers and, while this may seem like great fun, there are hidden dangers in the water that can cause serious injuries. We are urging parents to supervise their children closely in and around water this summer, and make sure they do not go into the water alone.
Notes to editors
The Environment Agency has provided some information to consider when planning your days out and holidays, whilst still having fun and being safe:
- Don’t jump or dive in as the depth may vary and there can be unseen hazards.
- Don’t go in near weirs, locks, pipes and sluices. These and some other water features are often linked with strong currents.
- Inland waters can be very cold no matter how warm the weather. Those going into cold water can get cramp and experience breathing difficulties very quickly.
- Keep a look out for boat traffic. Boaters especially on larger boats can find it very hard to spot and therefore avoid swimmers. Wear a bright swim cap and keep tucked into the river banks.
- Read the Public Health England Swim Healthy leaflet and follow their advice on reducing the risk of illness.
Most importantly, parents and guardians can help keep children in their care safe by:
- Teaching them to swim
- Warning them not to go into water alone, or unsupervised
- Ensuring they know where the children are and what they are doing
- Supervising them closely when near any open water
Remember drowning can occur very quickly even in shallow water and the key to keeping safe is to take all necessary precautions to avoid getting into difficulty in the first place.
For media enquiries Mon-Friday 9am-5pm please call 03708 506 506
After this time, please call the Duty Communications Officer on 0800 141 2743
Contact us on Communications_WT@environment-agency.gov.uk
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