Council issues water safety reminder as hot spell continues
10 June 2023 4 min read
With the weather forecast to turn warmer this weekend, Sefton Council is reminding people of the dangers of swimming in open water.
The National Water Safety Forum says that each year, on average 400 people drown in the UK.
Cllr Ian Moncur, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing said: “No matter how inviting lakes, rivers, canals or ponds may appear in this hot weather, they represent a real danger and even confident swimmers can get into difficulties very quickly.
“Even with the high temperatures we’re experiencing now, these bodies of water can be extremely cold, which can bring on into shock and make swimming difficult. The Royal Life Saving Society UK says cold water shock can catch out even strong swimmers.
“There may also be currents and hidden items or plants that can present a hazard to would-be bathers.”
Cold water shock
To survive cold water shock, the RNLI advises trying to just float for around 60 to 90 seconds, which is the time it takes for the effects of the cold water shock to pass and for to regain control of your breathing. Leaning back in the water and keeping your airway clear is recommended while you try to keep calm and control your breathing levels.
You should then be in a better position to attempt to swim to safety or call for help.
People wanting to swim in the sea are recommended to go to Sefton’s beaches at Ainsdale, Formby and Southport which all have RNLI lifeguards.
RNLI lifeguards are present all year round at Crosby beach, but is by no means a bathing beach. Signs warn visitors of the dangers of soft mud and gullies and incoming tides and indicate they should not enter the water.
Cllr Ian Moncur added: “Swimming at a beach where there are RNLI lifeguards is safer although people still need to take care, stick to the safe area between the flags and keep a close eye on children at all times.
“And, of course, there are lifeguards on hand in our swimming pools at Bootle Leisure Centre, Maghull’s Meadows Leisure Centre and the newly re-opened Splash World in Southport.”
Merseyside Fire and Rescue service recommend people follow these important safety tips near water:
- If you are going for a walk or run near water, stick to proper pathways and stay clear of the water’s edge;
- Avoid walking or running near water in the dark, if it's slippery or in bad weather;
- If you've had alcohol or drugs don't enter the water; avoid walking alone and avoid routes near water;
- Don't enter the water to try to help a person or animal - always call 999 and use any water rescue equipment if it is available;
- If you are spending time near water - whether at home or abroad - make sure you are familiar with local safety information.
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