Warning on Dangers of Swimming in Open Water

With the hot weather expected to continue and an amber weather warning for high temperatures in place, people are being urged not to cool off by swimming unsupervised in open water.

Staffordshire County Council’s Communities leader, Victoria Wilson explained that the water can be inviting but can also be extremely dangerous.

Even the strongest swimmers can find themselves at risk from the sudden change between air and water temperature and hidden hazards beneath the surface.

Victoria said: “I do understand people wanting to cool off by going for a swim but plunging into open water is completely different to swimming in a safe, controlled pool and can be very dangerous, even for experienced swimmers.

“Unfortunately we hear far too often about people getting into difficulties swimming in reservoirs, lakes and quarries. Our message is very much enjoy being near the water and the supervised activities on offer when it comes to places such as Chasewater reservoir, but when it comes to swimming be safe and go to public, supervised  pools.”

No matter how warm the day, large bodies of water stay very cold, with temperatures around 2O Celsius, and that can cause cold water shock, which can lead to a sudden loss of consciousness. Swimmers in lakes and reservoirs are also at risk from becoming entangled in underwater weeds and dumped rubbish, or being caught out by unseen currents and other dangers.

For instance, at Chasewater where swimming is not allowed, the floor of the reservoir shelves deeply and suddenly in places, while there is an undertow towards the pipe network carrying water away.

Victoria added: “We would urge people to use common sense. No matter how appealing a stretch of water looks, ‘no swimming’ signs are there for a reason. Please stay safe.”

Tony Walley
Tony Walley
News & Sport Editor

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