Mason Moore | Hinckley Reporter | 15 June 2022
NUNEATON and Bedworth Borough Council and Warwickshire Police are urging people not to go out swimming in open bodies of water.
They are advising people to keep out of quarries, lakes, pools, and canals – which are just a few examples of bodies of open water – as these can carry many dangers for swimmers, which can ultimately be ‘fatal’.
The risk of open water swimming is ‘especially high’ if swimming in these waters alone, with nobody else around, which can result in getting into difficulties.
As well as this, there is a further risk to others who could potentially lose their lives in attempting to help with a rescue.
In fact, people regularly get into difficulties and even swimmers with experience can find themselves in trouble quickly.
The water is usually much colder than anticipated before heading into them, especially when moving away from the shore or they are entering deep water.
And, there are hidden currants, unexpected obstacles, and weeds inside the waters which people could get caught up in, as cramp sets in.
The water is usually unclean and carries a risk of catching waterborne diseas like Weils disease, which is caused by rat’s urine.
Many lakes are also used by people who go for a spot of fishing, meaning that there could be fishing line both in and around in the water, which people could unknowingly get themselves tangled in.
Children and teenagers in particular – who are not aware of these dangers – are attracted to such activities, which is why the Borough Council are urging parents to highlight these dangers to their youngsters.
A Council Spokesperson stressed: “The only way to stay safe is to keep out the water.
“We understand the temptation to take a dip outdoors to cool off in hot weather, but please stick to using one of the borough’s fantastic indoor pools or leisure centres.”
If you spot anybody in difficulty in the water, call the emergency services on 999. But, do not enter the water yourself. Instead, take the following actions:
- Call for assistance from the emergency services.
- Do not attempt to go into the water.
- Instruct the casualty to keep still to maintain heat and energy.
- Try to find something that will extend your reach, such as a rope, pole, branch or item of clothing.
- Throw this or reach out to the casualty with it. Then, making sure that you are stable on the bank by lying down or getting someone to hold onto you, attempt to pull the person to shore.
- If you cannot find something with which to perform a reach rescue, try to find something that will float, to throw or push out to them until assistance arrives.
- Keep talking to the casualty to reassure them
- If the rescue is successful the casualty will need to be kept warm and treated for shock and should be taken to hospital even if they appear to be unaffected by their ordeal.
Coun. Julian Gutteridge, Portfolio Holder for Health and Environment said: “The safety of our residents and visitors is of paramount importance and we want to ensure that everyone can enjoy our parks and open spaces in the safest way possible. Please help us to share these important messages and talk to your children.”
Dave Williams, Nuneaton and Bedworth Inspector for Warwickshire Police, said: “We understand it can be tempting to go for a swim during the warmer summer months, but it is not worth the risk.
“Lakes, pools, rivers and quarries have many hidden dangers, and you can very quickly and easily get into trouble. Sadly, we have seen lives lost in these circumstances.
“Stay safe, stay out of the water.
“We would also ask all parents to make sure their children are aware of the dangers, and to be vigilant about where they are spending their time during spells of hot weather.”
One of the swimmers were not even from Warwickshire, and decided to come over solely for a dip in the dangerous body of water.
The group ran the risk of catching hypothermia, isolation, or a cold water shock. And, they were urged by Nuneaton’s Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) to ‘stay out’.