Dying for a swim?

Child drowning in a swimming pool

Cooling off in a reservoir may seem tempting this summer, but the consequences could be fatal.

There are around 400 drownings in UK reservoirs, quarries and other inland waters annually.

Liverpool City Council is urging people in the city  not to become the next tragic statistic

Water in reservoirs is cold enough to numb limbs and induce hypothermia. Hidden currents, steep sides and currents present further dangers.

Here are five reasons not to enter a reservoir:
• Icy cold: reservoir temperatures rarely get above 10 degrees, even in summer. They are cold enough to take your breath away, make your arms and legs numb, and induce hypothermia.

• Deep and deadly: reservoirs are often extremely deep, with sudden drops you cannot see.

• Hidden hazards: hidden currents and obstacles below the surface, such as machinery for water treatment, broken glass or other rubbish, is commonplace.

• Once you’re in…. it’s hard to get out. The sides of reservoirs are often very steep.

• Far from help: reservoirs are often in isolated places. If you get into trouble, there may be no one around to help. By the time emergency services arrive, it could be too late.
North West water company United Utilities owns more than 180 reservoirs across the North West, many surrounded by public access land.

Mark Byard, the company’s health and safety director said: “We’re looking forward to welcoming thousands of visitors to our reservoir sites this summer. We just ask that people please stay out of the water. The last thing we want is for a fun day out to turn into a tragedy.

“While teenagers are statistically the most likely to put themselves in harm’s way, we’ve seen adults and even parents with young children taking the plunge, not realising just how much danger they are in.

“We’re not trying to be killjoys or to prevent people from enjoying the summer. The risks of reservoir swimming are very real – and we want people to stay safe.”

For more information on water safety – including a range of educational resources and real life stories, videos and fact sheets – visit www.unitedutilities.com/reservoir-safety.

A guide for teachers or those working with children this summer around water safety is also available