Now that the summer is officially here and the days are getting warmer the British Waterways is urging visitors to the 2,000 miles of canal to enjoy the waters safely. 12 million people visit the waterways each year and the canals and rivers are more popular than ever. Although they may look tempting to cool off in on a hot summer’s day, British Waterways is urging people to stay safe and keep out of the water.
Canals are a real haven for people and nature and have something to offer everyone, from walkers and cyclists to boaters and anglers, families on days out and those wanting to enjoy the sunshine. Although the water may look inviting, any open body of water can pose a hazard, particularly to unsupervised children or anyone under the influence of alcohol.
People should resist the temptation to take a dip. The water is frequently colder than expected and can bring on cramps and sap energy of even the strongest swimmers. Dangers from strong current and faster flowing water around locks and weirs could also drag swimmers into danger. Contact with canal or river water can also bring about nasty stomach illnesses or Weil’s disease which although rare can be serious.
Tony Stammers, British Waterways’ Head of Health and Safety, said: “The canals are a great place to visit on a warm summer’s day as not only will visitors see lots of boats on the water but you will also see a wide variety of wildlife fluttering along the towpath. Canals, rivers and reservoirs are not suitable places for swimming as they may have hidden dangers lurking beneath the water that could cause serious injury if someone was to jump in. They can also be deep and the water quite cold which can quickly cause someone to get into trouble. It is far safer and much more fun to visit your local swimming pool or lido to cool off in the summer heat.” Read more on the British Waterways website…