In an emergency call 999

For non-emergency call 0300 330 1000

Water safety

Dying for a dip? Water is dangerous, only swim at properly supervised pools

The dangers of swimming in 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 well 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 equally 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 lies beneath the surface of the water; shopping trolleys, sharp metal and broken bottles are just a a few things that maybe lurking
  • If the water is polluted it could make you seriously ill. For example, Weil’s disease is a form of infection that can be caught through contact with contaminated fresh water

Never drink alcohol while swimming or taking part in any other water-related activity such as boating and waterskiing.

For further advice on water safety please visit the ROSPA website.