As temperatures begin to rise it can be tempting to cool yourself off by any means possible. Ice creams, water fights, a dip in your local reservoir?
A third of people in the North West admit they would consider swimming in a reservoir to cool down, a new research by United Utilities has revealed.
However, with the latest statistics by the National Water Safety Forum revealing that 300 people in the UK lost their lives in 2016 due to accidental drowning, the Council is asking residents to stay safe and out of the water.
Councillor Sheila Bailey, Stockport Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing, said:
“Reservoirs are about the worst possible place to cool down this summer. They have hidden machinery, unpredictable currents and freezing, muscle-numbing water and even the strongest swimmers can quickly find themselves in difficulty. We’d urge teenagers not to be tempted to swim in their local reservoir no matter how hot it gets. Please stay safe, and stay out.”
The chilling facts about reservoirs:
– Reservoir temperatures rarely get above 10 degrees, even in summer. They are cold enough to take your breath away, make your arms and legs numb, and induce hypothermia.
– Reservoirs are often extremely deep, with sudden drops you cannot see.
– There may be hidden currents from water pipes below the surface.
– Hidden obstacles, such as machinery for water treatment, broken glass or other rubbish, is commonplace.
– It’s hard to get out. The sides of reservoirs are often very steep.
– Reservoirs are often in isolated places. If you get into trouble, there may be no one around to help.
North West water safety campaigner Beckie Ramsay continued the important message by highlighting a disastrous incident which occurred in 2011. Her teenage son, Dylan tragically died in 2011 after swimming in a quarry.
“Nobody is stronger than water. Even when the sun is hot, the water can be freezing, sending the body into shock. Dylan was one of hundreds of people who die every year in open water, leaving behind families who face a lifetime of pain. I’d urge all young people, and their parents, to find out about the dangers. Before entering the water, people need to stop and think, ‘could this happen to me? Could I be a Dylan?’”
A recent survey has found that a fair number of us in the North West would be tempted to take a dip, with 33% of people asked saying they could consider swimming in a reservoir to cool down in hot weather. 7% of teens asked said they would succumb to peer pressure if their friends were taking the plunge.
Around 85% of accidental drownings occur at open water sites.
If you do want to swim in open water then ensure you are doing so at a proper venue, there are several open water swim events where there will be adequate supervision and signage. Stockport is lucky to have several open water swimming venues a stone’s throw away. From Salford Watersports Centre to Sale Water Park and The Delph near Chorley, these venues hold events and training.
The RLSS UK offers practical advice for safety in open water.