The Stirling area is home to some of the most stunning lochs, rivers and reservoirs that Scotland has to offer – but they can also be extremely dangerous.
In hot weather it can be tempting to take a dip at these spots to cool down but there are a number of hidden dangers which sadly can have fatal consequences. In 2019, 214 people lost their lives to unintentional drowning across the UK – 37 in Scotland.
Here are some of the dangers to be aware of:
- Open water can become very cold a few feet under the surface and cause cramps or cold water shock
- Strong currents can challenge even the strongest of swimmers
- Unseen objects could trap or injure you
- Underwater plants can entangle you
- Steep, slippery banks make it tricky to get back out of the water
- Remote locations can affect mobile phone coverage and you may not be able to call quickly for assistance.
People can also minimise risks by never swimming alone or after drinking alcohol and by staying away from places where swimming is not prohibited such as quarries.
Members of the public are also reminded that the misuse of life-saving equipment such as life rings can also have potentially fatal consequences. Last summer almost 40 life rings on the Teith and Forth rivers were stolen.
As we head into the summer break, parents and carers are asked to talk to children about safety around open water.
Below are key links for more information and digital resources:
- Police Scotland: https://www.scotland.police.uk/keep-safe/personal-safety/summer-safety
- Scottish Fire and Rescue: https://www.firescotland.gov.uk/your-safety/water-safety.aspx
- Scottish Water: https://www.scottishwater.co.uk/takecare
- The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents:
https://www.rospa.com/Leisure-Safety/Water/Advice/Children-Young-People/ (advice for children and young people)
https://www.rospa.com/Leisure-Safety/Water/Advice/Parents-Water.aspx (advice for parents).
Risking your life
Convener of Stirling Council’s Public Safety Committee, Cllr Maureen Bennison said: “With the recent easing of travel restrictions and the onset of the summer holidays, I know people will be keen to enjoy our many beauty spots with open water over the coming weeks, but please don’t decide to take a dip.
“The water may look calm and inviting but there are a number of hidden dangers, and you are risking your life and the lives of others by going in for a swim.”
Heed the advice
Vice Convener, Cllr Chris Kane said: “The sobering statistics about unintentional drowning underline the importance of highlighting this public safety message at this time of year.
“Going for a swim in our lochs, rivers, reservoirs and other open waters may seem tempting but the consequences can be fatal. Please heed the advice and stay safe.”