WITH the recent spate of hot weather, the Canal and River Trust is urging people not to swim in open water.

The waterways and wellbeing charity says it has seen a stark rise in reports of people trying to cool off by swimming in the canals, rivers and reservoirs across its network in Yorkshire.

It says one of the biggest dangers is ‘cold water shock’ which can quickly get even the strongest swimmer in trouble. There are also risks of hidden obstacles and water-borne diseases.

The trust is particularly keen to get the message across to families with children, to stay away from the water’s edge and safely cool down in other ways as the summer holidays begin. It is asking families to stay SAFE near water – Stay Away From the Edge and repeat the message to children.

Of the 400 people who drown in the UK every year, more than half the fatalities happen at inland waters such as canals, rivers, lakes, quarries and reservoirs.

Sean McGinley, regional director Yorkshire and North East for Canal and River Trust said: “Spending time on or by water is a lovely way to spend a summer’s day and they are excellent places for families to explore during the warm weather. But it’s also important that people, especially children and teenagers, are aware of the dangers of cooling off by going for a dip. The consequences can be devastating.

“On a hot day we understand that people might feel like cooling off in a river, canal or reservoir but we strongly advise people to stay out of the water. There are lots of hidden risks that you can’t see - submerged obstacles that can cause injury or you can get tangled in, unknown depth and current, and often the water is a lot colder than you think which can lead to shock.

“Please stay away from the edge and don’t get in the water, it’s just not worth it. If you want to swim outside, find an open water swimming club near you by visiting the Canal and River Trust website.”

For tips on how to talk to your children about water safety and staying safe near canals and rivers, go to: https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/enjoy-the-waterways/safety-on-our-waterways/water-safety-tips-for-parents

To find out more about staying safe near canals and rivers this summer, go to: https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/enjoy-the-waterways/safety-on-our-waterways/summer-water-safety