When the weather’s hot you may be tempted to go for a swim in a local river or other wild swimming areas.
The water may look inviting but it could prove dangerous to even the strongest of swimmers. To help you stay safe this summer, if you are taking a dip please follow this advice:
- Research or ask around for the best swimming spot
- Pay attention to hazard signs and life buoys
- Think about rainfall and temperature – Assess the risks
- Always swim with others
- Avoid weirs, locks, pipes and sluices
- Know where you are going to exit the water
- Take your rubbish home with you if no bins are available.
- Wade in, don’t jump. River depth is always changing, and you never know what is below the surface – trees, rocks, even trolleys…
- Always accompany children and ensure they know where is safe to swim
- Know your limits and be aware of changes in depth and current
- Be boat aware – Consider wearing a bright tow-float
- Swim Sober – drugs and alcohol can limit the ability of even the most experienced swimmers and increase the risk of drowning
- Be respectful of other people using the waterways and riverbanks.
Don’t be a hero
- If you see someone in trouble in the water dial 999 or 112
- Look for a flotation device nearby and throw it to them
- Shout instructions to help them stay afloat
- Do not attempt a rescue without the correct training, experience or equipment.
If you have children or haven’t had much experience with swimming, consider making a splash at your local pool – the water’s warm and clear, and you’ll have lifeguards on hand to keep you safe.
For more information on swimming outdoors please visit:
- www.wildswimming.co.uk – An online community of wild swimmers who are committed to safe outdoor swimming
- Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue – Online water safety learning for children