We love and care for your canals and rivers, because everyone deserves a place to escape.

Safety on our waterways

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 385 million visits made by boaters, cyclists, runners, walkers and canoeists. However, when the weather warms, the temperature of the water remains very cold and while the temptation to cool off in a local waterway increases, so do the risks.

Summer along the canal Summer along the canal

We are urging visitors to remember that although they may be fit and strong on land, you can’t train your body for the shocks of unseen dangers under the water. The risks include:

  • Low temperatures which can cause the body to go into cold shock and even hypothermia, drawing the blood away from your muscles to protect your organs. This can lead to drowning.
  • Reeds and other plant life which can get tangled around limbs and keep you in the water.
  • Rubbish, like shopping trolleys, which can trap your feet as well as cause injury.
  • Depth perception - it could be much shallower than you expect it to be and cause serious harm if someone jumps in, as well as being much deeper than expected in other areas.
  • Waterborne diseases such as Leptospirosis (Weil’s disease).

Last date edited: 1 August 2016