With the start of the school summer holidays being accompanied by a spell of fine weather, Scottish Water and Police Scotland’s warning not to take risks around open water have been echoed by Gil Paterson MSP.
Scottish Water is promoting its social media campaign #ReservoirSafety and has produced a video to highlight the importance of safety around open water. www.scottishwater.co.uk/reservoirvideo
Speaking about the dangers, Mr Paterson said: “In the Milngavie and Bearsden area we have rivers, reservoirs and lochs. On a hot day the water can look inviting but open water can be very cold and conceal many hidden dangers.
“Everyone should be aware of the hazards of open water, especially children, so I’m asking parents to watch the Scottish Water video and talk to their children to make sure that they understand swimming in a reservoir or a canal is very different to swimming in a swimming pool.
“Even on hot days open water can be extremely cold and can cause shock and cramps, obstacles may be hidden just beneath the surface of the water as well as weeds and dangerous currents. There is no way to tell how deep the water is and there is no lifeguard on duty if you get into trouble and cannot get out because of steep or slippy banks. Really strong swimmers can still get into difficulty.
“I want everyone to enjoy the summer safely, so make sure that you and your children are aware of the hazards and take a little extra care.”
The latest figures from the National Water Safety Forum show that, in 2017, a total of 255 people lost their lives to unintentional drowning in the UK, 46 of which were in Scotland.
Police Scotland said: “Open water can hold hidden dangers. It may look calm on the surface, but there can be strong undercurrents. The water can be deep, and there are often sudden drops and underwater obstacles that you cannot see.
“We urge everyone to ensure they stay safe during the summer holidays and stick to organised bathing.”