Water safety is matter of life and death

Soaring hot temperatures unusual for Scotland, a prospect of a cool dip in a beautiful setting that chimes in with the trend for wild swimming – it sounds like a recipe for an ideal way to while away a few hours in the sun.

Wednesday, 21st July 2021, 3:59 pm
Updated Wednesday, 21st July 2021, 5:21 pm
Banton Loch

Yet conditions like this are strewn with hidden dangers and can kill.

This newspaper reported last month that an 47-year-old man died after getting into difficulties in a beauty spot which proves a big draw to both locals and visitors – Banton Loch.

The major emergency sparked a massive response which saw a trail of emergency vehicles rush through Kilsyth on an otherwise tranquil Saturday afternoon, but sadly the man simply could not be saved.

Now a warning has been issued about bodies of water which in fact have many unseen dangers as bathers enter unawares as the loch has strong currents and undertow.

Accident prevention charity ROSPA has worked with police to highlight the dangers of sites like Banton Loch and others like it and feels a strong need to hammer the message home during the summer holidays .

To prove the scale of the problem the charity also revealed that no fewer than 99 water-related fatalities were recorded in Scotland alone last year.

A spokesperson said: “The environment is often very deep, very cold and can be difficult to get out of if there are steep slimy banks.

"In some bodies of open water hidden rubbish such as shopping trolleys and broken glass could prove to be a danger and of course there are no lifeguards. There is also the chance that the water may be polluted and could make you ill.”

Some key facts were also revealed about the varied circumstances behind death by drowning.

Men account for 82 per cent of fatalities and those in the 20 to 29 age group were the most inclined to die accidentally,

A total of 79 per cent of accidental fatalities happened at inland waters.

It was also revealed that 31% accidental fatality reports noted the presence of drugs or alcohol.

The ROSPA spokesperson added: “Each and every one of these deaths is a tragedy and many could've been prevented.”