People urged not to swim in open water

With the first sightings of warmer weather showing over the past week, Staffordshire will likely now be starting to think of the warmer summer months.

And as the government’s coronavirus pandemic restrictions begin to ease and people will start heading out and about to enjoy the countryside again, Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service would once again like to remind people – water is dangerous.

Residents should only swim at properly supervised pools.

The dangers of swimming in open pools, canals, rivers and lakes are as follows:

  • If you get into trouble, there are no lifeguards to help you
  • The water is often a lot colder than you expect – which can cause cramps and make it hard to move. Just because you can swim well in a heated swimming pool doesn’t mean you’ll be able to swim in cold water
  • There may be hidden currents
  • It is difficult to estimate how deep water is before you get in. If it’s too shallow you are at risk of injuring yourself if you jump in. And deep water may lead you to get into difficulties
  • You might not be able to get out. Steep, slimy banks or sides can make getting out impossible
  • There is no way of knowing what hazards lie beneath the surface of the water – shopping trolleys, sharp metal and broken bottles are just a few things that may be lurking
  • If the water is polluted it could make you seriously ill. For example, Well’s disease is a form of infection that can be caught through contact with contaminated fresh water

Mark Downes, one of Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Prevent Delivery Leads, added: “It’s also vital to remember never to drink alcohol while swimming or taking part in any other water-related activity such as boating and water-skiing.

“This can lead to serious accidents that can result in terrible injuries – or worse. Please stay safe when enjoying the various waterways and pools Staffordshire has to offer. Safe enjoyment saves lives.”

For further advice on water safety, please contact your local Prevent Team on 01785 898719 or via email at

In an emergency, call 999 and ask for the Fire Service.

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