This Spring we all need to be keeping ourselves safe by following the Government's COVID-19 advice to stay at home, to help save lives. If you do choose to do some daily exercise with a walk or run, be extra careful around open water. If you slip there’s likely to be no-one to help you out, so stay well away from the sides.
What are the dangers of swimming in open water?
- There is no supervision by lifeguards to help you if get into trouble
- The water is often a lot colder than you expect and it can impact on your physical capabilities. Just because you can swim well in a warm watered pool doesn't mean you'll be able to swim well in cold water. Cold water shock can kill
- It can be deep and it's difficult to estimate the depth before you get in
- You may jump in but can you get out? Often people can't find a suitable place to get out of the water due to steep slimy banks or sides
- There is no way of knowing what lies beneath the surface of the water. There could be shopping trolleys, opened tin cans or broken bottles
- If it's polluted, it could make you ill!
- There may be hidden currents
- Never drink alcohol during or just before swimming or while carrying out activities such as boating or water skiing
- If you're going to go swimming, make sure that somebody is nearby so you can shout for help if you get into difficulties
To help reinforce our safety messages around open water we have been working closely with the loved ones of two teenage boys from Bolton - Jason Varghese (15) and his older cousin Joel Aniyankunj (19) - who drowned while on holiday in August 2018.
Following on from the tragic accident Jason’s and Joel’s loved ones are urging young people not to swim in open water – both at home and on holiday – while also reaching out to parents to raise awareness and save others the heartache they have experienced.
You can read more about this here and watch a video below which includes Suby (Jason's mum and Joel's auntie), Jason's headteacher, Tania Lewyckji, and two of his best friends - Robbie Woodcock and Sam Gibbons.
What about swimming at the beach?
When you are swimming at a beach, be beware of which flag is flying as this will warn you of any dangers.
See below images of flags, and this is what you should look for:
- Red and yellow flags - lifeguards on patrol
- Red flags - it's dangerous to bathe or swim so don't go into the water
- Quartered black and white flags - the area has been zoned for surf crafts and Malibu boards. It's not safe for swimmers and bather
Children should always go to the beach with an adult. An adult can point out dangers or help if somebody gets into trouble.
What should I do if I spot an emergency?
If you see someone in difficulty in the water, tell somebody, preferably a lifeguard if there is one nearby. Alternatively use your mobile or go to the nearest telephone and dial 999, ask for the Police at inland water sites and the Coastguard at the beach.
For more information about water safety visit The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents' website at www.rospa.com.
Canal safety advice
- Always plan your journey home at the start of the night
- Don't walk alone along canals at night time, or after drinking alcohol
Manchester Water Safety Partnership
The Manchester Water Safety Partnership was formed in 2015 in response to several deaths in central Manchester waterways. The group is made up of representatives from Canal & River Trust, CityCo, Manchester City Council, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue, Greater Manchester Police, Royal National Lifeboat Institution and the Royal Life Saving Society UK, working together to help make Manchester’s waterways safer, with a key focus on the city centre.
For more information go to: http://manchesterwatersafety.com/about