Water Safety – The dangers of cooling off in open water

During the current spell of warm weather, please tell your children not to be tempted to cool off in rivers, canals, ponds, quarries or lakes.  Cooling off in open water can have deadly consequences.

Around 85% of accidental drownings occur at open water sites. Many of these drownings occur due to a lack of knowledge and understanding of open water safety. The water may look calm on the surface, but there may still be strong undercurrents that could pull even a strong swimmer under.

The water may also feel relatively warm on the surface, but just a few feet below can be icy cold even in the hot weather and can very quickly cause severe cramp and hypothermia.

Young people often misjudge their swimming ability – they may view a river or lake as a tempting means of cooling off during a hot spell of weather, but fail to appreciate the harmful effects that the cold water can have on their stamina and strength.

Due to these dangers, please speak to your children and teenagers, tell them not to swim anywhere other than in purpose-built and supervised swimming pools.



  • Swim at unsupervised (un-lifeguarded sites) including lakes, quarries reservoirs and rivers
  • Jump into the water from heights or ‘tombstone’ – its nicknamed tombstone for a reason.
  • Swim into deep water which will be much colder


When two currents of water come together and meet causing a ‘whirlpool’ Water moves round in a circle and it is difficult to escape, often an undercurrent will drag down your legs and body in the water.

Cold Shock

When a person suffers from cold shock the swimmer can inhale water due to involuntary gasping reflex and cause immediate loss of consciousness will result in drowning.

Exposure to the head and chest can result in a sudden increase in the heart rate and blood pressure which can result in a cardiac arrest.