World Drowning Prevention Day: Anglian Water warns against swimming in reservoirs as warmer weather continues

25 July 2022

News

Image credit: Richard Adams

As the hot weather continues, Anglian Water is urging people not to be tempted to cool off in their reservoirs and warns of the dangers of swimming and jumping in open water in support of World Drowning Prevention Day.

This evening (25 July), the responsible water company will be illuminating Normanton Church at Rutland Water with blue lights to mark its support of the annual awareness day.

Established by the United Nations General Assembly and endorsed by organisations including World Health Organization, World Drowning Prevention Day aims to raise awareness of the dangers around swimming in open bodies of water and to draw attention to the issue of drowning prevention in a bid to save more lives.

Jake Williams, Head of Parks and Conservation at Anglian Water said:

“Open bodies of water, like our reservoirs, can pose a risk to life for anyone. Even the strongest of swimmers can run into difficulty and when the weather is hot like this it can be even more tempting to use the reservoirs to cool off.

“Our reservoirs are there to help us store water so that we have plenty of available resources to supply clean, high-class drinking water to our customers. They are very deep and can be extremely cold in places, even during periods of really hot weather. The sudden change in temperature can cause cold shock which takes your breath away and makes it hard to swim.

“There are also strong currents, mud and weeds that can very quickly put swimmers in real danger and as our reservoirs are operational sites, there is hidden machinery just below the water surface.

“It is illegal to swim in our reservoirs and watercourses unless it is a properly designated bathing area supervised by fully qualified lifeguards, like the popular beaches at Rutland Water and Grafham Water, or supervised events such as triathlons.

Sadly, around 400 people lose their lives to drowning every year in the UK and Ireland – equating to more than one person every day – and 62.4% of accidental drownings happen in inland bodies of water.

Lee Heard, Charity Director at Royal Life Saving Society UK said: “Unfortunately, every summer we see a sharp rise in the number of preventable deaths by drowning as many people look for ways to cool off during warmer weather.

“Sadly, we have already seen a number of drownings in the UK over the past few weeks as the temperatures have soared.

“It is vital that everyone has an understanding of water safety.”

The charity’s advice on staying safe around water is:

DON’T:

·       Don’t swim at unsupervised, un-lifeguarded sites including lakes, quarries, reservoirs and rivers

·       Don't take any risks - you may think it is fun to play around in water unsupervised or to jump off rocks but it can be very dangerous and help or rescue may be a long way away.

·       Don’t swim into deep water which will be colder

DO:

·       Do swim at supervised, lifeguarded sites

·       Do look for signs and advice about the specific dangers at the place where you are considering swimming

·       Do learn basic survival, self-rescue and rescue skills and make sure someone knows where you are