YOUNGSTERS and parents are being reminded to play safe around rivers, reservoirs and lochs as schools across Scotland begin their summer holidays.
Peter Farrer, Scottish Water’s customer service delivery director is concerned people might take unnecessary risks around water during the summer holidays if the weather improves.
He said: “While it’s important that youngsters enjoy their school holidays and that people across Scotland take pleasure in the country’s beautiful lochs, rivers and reservoirs, it is also vital that they stay safe.
“We don’t want to spoil anyone’s fun, but we are reminding parents to keep their children safe, and asking adults to act responsibly around watercourses.”
That message is being reiterated by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA).
Peter Cornall, head of leisure safety at RoSPA, said: “In previous years, the number of accidental drownings inland has peaked during hot spells. We want people to be out and about enjoying the summery weather and ideally swimming at properly-supervised sites, such as the local swimming pool.”
Reservoirs are man-made features and because of their purpose, they have a number of unique hidden dangers. These relate mainly to built structures such as dams, spillways (overflows) and water intakes (underwater pipe work that takes water out of the reservoir) and the effects of these. For your own safety you should keep away from such man made structures.
Other hidden dangers found at reservoirs include deep cold water (even on a hot day), underwater plant life and steep banks. For these reasons and in the interests of health and safety, Scottish Water does not encourage swimming or diving in any of our reservoirs.
Mr Cornall added: “If people choose not to go to a supervised site, then we urge them to think through the risks of swimming in rivers, reservoirs and lochs before taking the plunge and to make sure they know what to do if something goes wrong.
“Among the hazards to consider are that, even on a hot day, water might be a lot colder than you were expecting and there may be strong currents and underwater debris that you cannot see from the bank. Consider how you are going to get out of the water once you are in it, be honest about your swimming ability and remember that alcohol and swimming never mix.”
If customers would like more information they can contact our Customer Helpline on 0845 601 8855 or www.scottishwater.co.uk/takecare.