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Water Safety Forum warns of open water dangers

Merseyside Water Safety Forum (MWSF)is urging people to take extra care on the River Mersey, around the Mersey coastline and around inland water across the area such as canals, ponds, dams and quarries as the warm temperatures begin to take hold.

During summer there is often an increase in people taking part in water sports including kite surfing, sailing, paddle boarding, kayaking, canoeing and open water swimming.

Although a great way to have fun, stay healthy and spend quality time with friends and family, open water poses many dangers and the water safety forum is offering advice to help people stay safe.

As part of its continued commitment to reduce drownings across Merseyside, earlier this year Merseyside Fire & Rescue formed the Merseyside Water Safety Forum alongside partners including the RNLI, RLSS (Royal Life Saving Society), Merseyside Police and local authorities.

Merseyside Fire &; Rescue Service and partner agencies from the forum are called out to incidents involving rescue from water on a frequent basis. Some of these are people who have deliberately entered the water, but many people do so accidentally or without realising the danger they are putting themselves in.

Station Manager Steve Thomas, chair of Merseyside Water Safety Forum, said: “We want everyone to enjoy themselves and keep cool but also be aware of the risks associated with open water. Even if you are a strong swimmer and it is very hot, you can very quickly experience cold water shock with potentially tragic consequences.

If you are a parent, please make sure you discuss the risks around open water with children and young people, as they are particularly at risk. Drowning is one of the leading causes of accidental death in the UK so, as much as we want everyone to enjoy themselves, we ask everyone to take extra care around water this summer.” Communications Manager: Andrew Highton 0151 296 4417 Mob: 07841871323

Corporate Communications, Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service, Bridle Road, Bootle, Merseyside L30 4YD.

Make sure you follow these important safety tips near water:

  • Never enter the water to try and help a person or animal - always call 999 and use any water rescue equipment if it is available

  • If you are spending time near water - whether at home or abroad make sure you are familiar with local safety information

  • Stay out of the water if you have been drinking alcohol and never let children or teenagers swim in unsupervised areas like quarries, canals or ponds.

  • Never interfere with lifesaving equipment such as life rings as you may need it yourself, as might other people who might find themselves in distress.

  • Swimming anywhere other than at a purpose-built and supervised swimming pool or water sports centre is highly dangerous and not recommended, unless as part of an organised club.

  • There may be hazards under the water such as rocks, debris, broken bottles or even shopping trolleys, which can cause serious injury or may trap you.

  • Even competent swimmers may struggle in open water so stick to swimming pools or beaches with a lifeguard and never go swimming alone.

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