We're urging people to take extra care when out by the waterside this summer. As the temperature heats up, the temptation to cool off in a local waterway increases but so do the dangers.
Summer is one of the most popular times for people to visit Britain’s canals and rivers, and last year was the busiest on record with more than 400 million visits to a local waterway by boaters, cyclists, walkers and canoeists.
However, as the weather warms, the temptation to cool off in a local waterway increases - sometimes with tragic consequences.
Tony Stammers, head of health and safety at the Canal & River Trust explains: “Canals and rivers are brilliant places to go to on hot days, and excellent for families to explore during the holidays – I’d encourage anyone to make a visit this summer. But it’s also important that people, especially children, are aware of the dangers of cooling off by going for a dip in the wrong place. We always urge parents to make sure their children know how to stay safe.
“In particular, inland waters such as canals, rivers and reservoirs may look inviting on a hot summer’s day, but any open body of water can pose a hazard as the water can often be extremely cold and can bring on cramps in even the strongest swimmers and there may be hidden objects lurking beneath the surface.”
The Canal & River Trust ‘Explorers’ water safety programme, which focuses on children in Key Stage 2 of the National Curriculum, aims to help young people learn about and enjoy their local canal or river safely and can also be used towards a number of Cub Scout and Brownie badges. Dozens of volunteers nationwide help the Trust each year by going into schools and speaking to youth groups about their local canal or river.
If you’d like to see the free resources available or if you’re interested in helping the Trust educate young people about their local canal or river, visit www.canalriverexplorers.org.uk