As temperatures rise, it’s tempting to cool off with a swim in a river, canal, lake or reservoir. Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service is regularly called to rescue people who have got into trouble in the water.
What are the dangers?
- There is no supervision.
- The cold water temperature can claim your life in minutes – even if you are a strong swimmer.
- It’s difficult to estimate the depth of the water. It may be much deeper or much shallower than expected.
- There are often no suitable places to get out of the water due to steep slimy banks or sides.
- There is no way of knowing what lies beneath – there could be weeds, pipes, shopping trolleys, sharp metal or broken bottles.
- Swimming in open water can lead to a variety of serious illnesses.
- There may be hidden currents. Flowing water or swimming in the sea can be especially dangerous.
- Alcohol and swimming don’t mix – perception and capability are both affected by drinking.
What should I do if I see someone in difficulty?
- Alert someone, preferably a lifeguard. Or, dial 999 and ask for the fire and rescue service. Explain your location clearly and describe any landmarks.
- Swim somewhere safe – the swimming baths.
- Obey the warning signs around reservoirs, lakes, canals, rivers and at the beach.
- Value your own safety first – jumping into the water to rescue pets or belongings can be highly dangerous.
- Know what to do in an emergency – ring 999 and ask for the fire and rescue service. Explain your location clearly and describe any landmarks.
- Enjoy organised water sports in a safe environment – with the correct equipment and a qualified instructor.
For further information on water safety visit:
Now watch the video ‘Filling Up’ by the Royal Berkshire Fire & Rescue Service: