Warning about swim dangers in cold waters

Warning about swim dangers in cold waters

29 July 2020

YOUNG people across the district have been warned to stay away from reservoirs, quarries, lakes and rivers.

The warning has been issued by Northern Ireland Water which says while various bodies of water can often look idyllic, they can be particularly dangerous, especially over the summer.

The organisation says that while such locations look the perfect place to spend the day when the weather is warm and as people across the district turn attention to ‘staycations,’ a reservoir’s calm exterior can mask hidden dangers.

NI Water is advising children and young people especially to take care around reservoirs and never be tempted to swim in them. 

Officials say reservoirs are often be great places for a walk or a cycle, warning that even an innocent paddle in the water can quickly turn into an emergency.

NI Water’s head of safety, health and environment, Cathy Uprichard, says there is a real danger lying beneath the surface.

“Understandably, a reservoir can look like the perfect place to cool down on a warm day, but while it may look safe, it can be very dangerous,” she explained.

“You may swim well in a warm indoor pool, but that does not mean that you will be able to swim in extremely cold water.”

She said the dangers include very cold temperatures, explaining the water can be bitterly cold even in summer months.

In addition, she said there can also be strong underwater currents which can trouble even the most confident of swimmers, with reservoirs often much deeper than people expect.

She added: “There may be hidden debris or underwater hazards which can cause injury, including weeds and plants, which can entangle you under the water.

“It can also be very difficult to get out of the water due to steep, slimy banks and there are also no lifeguards on duty.

“We want everyone to have a fantastic summer, but always resist the temptation to cool off in a reservoir or a quarry.”