Drowning Prevention Week: Anglian Water urges summer swimmers to avoid taking a dip in reservoirs as weather heats up
16 June 2020
After the recent hot spell, and with warmer weather forecast this week, Anglian Water is reminding visitors of its water parks and reservoirs not to be tempted to cool off in the water.
The water company is supporting Drowning Prevention Week, a campaign created by The Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS), to raise awareness of the dangers around swimming in its reservoirs, and other open bodies of water.
The advice follows a series of instances over recent years where two young people tragically lost their lives after swimming unsupervised in rivers and reservoirs in East Anglia. Unfortunately, around 700 people lose their lives to drowning every year in the UK and Ireland - equating to one person every 12 hours.
The company's waterparks closed temporarily in March this year due to the coronavirus outbreak. Although they have now reopened to visitors, many of the water sports activities, including equipment hire, Aqua Parks and the much-loved beach at Rutland Water will remain closed this year.
Anglian Water's David Hartley said: "Even more than usual this year, with the current measures in place around social distancing and the added pressures on our emergency services, we are urging people not to put themselves at unnecessary risk.
"The beach at Rutland will remain closed and all organised events are currently postponed, meaning swimming in our reservoirs is illegal. Although it might seem appealing to dive into the cool water on a hot day, they are operational sites, and can be extremely dangerous for even the strongest swimmer."
Swimming in reservoirs and watercourses can pose a risk to life for anyone. Strong currents in the water and hidden machinery often lie just below the surface, as well as mud and weeds which can trap swimmers. The unexpectedly cold temperatures in large bodies of open water can also cause cold water shock resulting in involuntary inhalation of water, often tragically resulting in drowning.
David continued: "There are many other activities available at our parks out of the water available like scenic walking and cycling routes, angling, and much more so there is still plenty to enjoy safely."
RLSS UK CEO, Robert Gofton said: "This year's campaigns will focus on encouraging everybody to take personal responsibility near water, especially in light of the current challenges facing our emergency and rescue services. Venues and rescue services are doing everything they can to provide a service this summer, but the harsh reality is that in the current climate, despite a big effort, the usual level of service just isn't feasible.
"Accidental drowning incidents are largely avoidable if the correct choices are made, coupled with the skills and knowledge for personal survival and bystander rescue. These skills are easy to learn and free to access. We are urging individuals and families to take care, take responsibility and learn what to do in an emergency."
Further information about what is available at each of Anglian Water's waterparks can be found here.