Take care near open water areas such as ponds and lakes. 400 people drown each year and thousands more suffer life changing injuries. 44% of drowning victims had no intention of entering the water. These are anglers, runners, walkers, students and young people on nights out.
Swimming in Open Water
The conditions at open water sites change constantly. Check signs and notices for safety messages. If abroad, make sure you check as they may be different to UK safety signs.
The RLSS advice includes:
- Only enter the water in areas with adequate supervision and rescue cover
- Always look for supervised beaches (designated by a yellow flag) when you swim or do water sports
- Swim parallel with the shore, not away from it
- Avoid drifting in the currents. Do not enter fast flowing water and be aware of underwater hazards
- COLD WATER SHOCK CAN STOP YOUR HEART! Even on a warm day, the water can be very cold. Get out of the water as soon as you start to feel cold and never enter the water after consuming alcohol.
- Always wear a buoyancy aid or life jacket for activities on the water or at the water’s edge (such as when boating or fishing)
- Always take someone with you when you go into or near water. If something goes wrong they will be able to get help.
- On beaches check when the tide will be high and low and make sure that you won’t be cut off from the beach exit by the rising tide. Also be aware of dangerous rip-currents
- Inflatable dinghies or lilos are a well-known hazard – each year a number of people drown after being blown out to sea on an inflatable. Do not use them in open water
- Do not swim near to or dive from rocks, piers, breakwater or coral
- If someone is in difficulty in the water shout reassurance to them and shout for help and call the emergency services (call 999 or 112)
Alcohol and Water Activities
Never drink alcohol during or just before swimming – or any other water-related activity such as boating and water skiing. When walking home from a night out, avoid routes that are alongside water, particularly in the darkness, and always stay with and look out for your friends. A quarter of all adult drowning victims have had alcohol in their bloodstreams with younger adults and children more likely to have consumed alcohol before drowning.
Did you know? Fires on boats have killed 30 boaters in the last 20 years. Most fires are preventable. The Fire Safety on Boats booklet provides tips and advice on how to protect your boat and crew from fire, and what to do should a fire break out.