Warning issued over dangers of open water swimming


Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service is warning of the dangers of open water swimming as the warm temperatures take hold.

Although it is tempting to cool off with a swim on hot summer days there are many dangers posed by open water.

Ian Kay, Team Leader for Merseyside Fire & Rescue Unit’s Marine Rescue Unit said: “Although it’s easy to understand the temptation to jump in to water on a hot day, this is a really dangerous thing to do.

“Unless the water is crystal clear it can be hard to tell what is under the surface of the water.

“Items such as rocks, discarded metal or debris or even shopping trolleys can be hidden under the waves, which could cause serious injury if anyone landed on them. There may also be entrapment hazards.

“The temperature of open water can also be very cold, enough to numb limbs or induce cold water shock which can be fatal.

“There is also the possibility you will become stranded and unable to get out of the water, and you could be being swept away or even drowned.

“Even competent swimmers may struggle in open waters so be aware of the currents and water conditions before going in. Never attempt to swim after consuming alcohol.

“Drowning in the UK is amongst the leading causes of accidental death so we would urge anyone to think twice before swimming in open water.”

If someone you are with falls in to deep water:

* Call for help right away. Call 999 and if you are near the coast ask for the Coastguard. If you are inland ask for the fire service and ambulance.

* Give accurate information about where you are. Use the location services or map tools on your phone to give a clear description to emergency services and look around for any landmarks or signs.

* Stay on the line and call for help from anyone who might be close by.
* Never enter the water to try and save someone; you are likely to suffer from cold water shock.

* Shout to the person ‘swim to me’ to give them a focus and keep any instructions clear, short and loud.

* Look around for any lifesaving equipment and use it. If there is no lifesaving equipment look what else you can use to help them stay afloat.


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