As the UK looks set to have high temperatures this weekend, Humberside Fire and Rescue Service is reminding the public that cooling off in rivers, lakes, docks or reservoirs can be fatal.
Drowning in the UK is one of the leading causes of accidental death. Each year more than 300 people drown after tripping, falling or just by underestimating the risks associated with being near water. Many more people are left with life changing injuries in water related incidents.
Sadly, last summer, a 17 year old drowned in a Warwickshire quarry, a teenager lost their life when swimming near Clacton pier, a six year old girl drowned off Margate and a five year old boy died in an Algarve swimming pool.
Humberside Fire and Rescue is raising awareness of the risks so people can enjoy the water safely this summer whether at home or abroad.
Humberside's service area includes 70km of East Yorkshire coastline and around 130km of Humber Estuary banks which may not be that appealing for swimmers, but can catch out anglers or dog walkers in the dangerous and unpredictable mud and tides. The region also has tidal waterways such as the Derwent, Ouse, Trent and River Hull which has seen many incidents over recent years as people have entered the water along its banks anywhere from Stoneferry down to The Deep. Over half of all water rescues in Humberside since 2009 have occurred in Hull.
This prolonged period of hot weather brings other dangers as city centres are packed with drinkers in the pubs and cafes along the water's edge. Swimming or simply cooling off in the marina can be deadly as cold water shock can kill. Dangers such as shopping trolleys or other debris also lurk just beneath the surface for those intent on jumping in.
HFRS Public Safety Group Manager Steve Duffield outlined some areas of concern within the Humberside area:
"Any open water can be deadly, especially at this time of year when the water temperature is still low despite the high outside temperature. In this region however, the banks of the River Humber, The Barge area of Grimsby, Hull Marina and the muddy River Hull make up the majority of our call-outs.
"We train for these situations at Princes Quay and other open water sites across the region. I would urge the public to call 999 immediately if they see someone in trouble and to never enter the water themselves to try and save others - it often makes matters worse.
"I would urge those drinking alcohol in our town centres, often near the water's edge, to be especially careful themselves and call for help if others get into difficulty. Those with young children should keep them supervised at all times. Sadly, it only takes a couple of seconds for a great day out in the sun to turn into a life threatening situation."
• If you are going for a walk or run near water, stick to proper pathways and stay clear of the water's edge
• Make sure conditions are safe, avoid walking or running near water in the dark, slippery conditions or in bad weather
• If you've had alcohol, don't enter the water, avoid walking alone and avoid routes near water
• Keep young children supervised at all times around open water
• Swim between the flags on a lifeguarded beach and never swim alone off the coast
• 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