Water safety advice issued in wake of red weather warning

The Canal and River Trust has issued water safety advice following the red warning alert for extreme weather at the start of this week.

Temperatures are expected to reach 36 degrees celsius in parts of the UK this evening and then again tomorrow afternoon. The Trust, which cares for over 500 miles of waterways across the West Midlands, is urging people to stay out of canals, rivers, reservoirs and docks.

Bosses are asking young people to experience all the safe ways to enjoy the canals this summer, especially during the coming days extreme heatwave,  but to avoid getting in the water. Canal and river water will be really cold, even in the summer, and immersion in cold water could bring on cold water shock. 

In addition, canals can be shallow and you could seriously hurt yourself if you jump from a bridge, while locks are a lot deeper than expected. Jon Horsfall, acting regional director for West Midlands at the Canal and River Trust said:

“The canals and rivers across Birmingham and the Black Country are lovely relaxing places to spend time during the warm weather, but it’s important that children and teenagers are aware of the dangers of cooling off by going for a dip with friends. The consequences can be devastating.

"There were 277 accidental drownings in the UK in 2021. 62% of these happened at inland waters and 83% of these were male. These are scary statistics. Water may look safe, especially a familiar stretch of local water local, but poor decisions around it can create a dangerous situation.

“Inland waterways, like canals, rivers, reservoirs and docks can look really inviting but you can’t tell what is below the surface. The water often isn’t clear and you won’t be able to see the depth or any obstacles in the water, and even on a hot day the water can be extremely cold.

"If you want to swim, go to a pool or find an open water swimming club near you by visiting our website.”

For more information, you can visit the Canal and River Trust's website.


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