Risks of playing in and around water
It's important to continue to follow the latest health advice, including about social distancing, even when outdoors. You can find information at this link:
Risks around water
Unattended waters like rivers, lakes, and reservoirs and out-of-bound areas such as quarries, treatment works or even NI Water construction sites, can seem like exciting places to explore.
But they can be unsuitable or unsafe for swimming, and full of dangers.
If you are going to go swimming, make sure that somebody is nearby so you can shout for help if you get into difficulties.
The dangers of water include:
- very cold temperatures - the water can be colder than expected, even in warm weather
- hidden currents - there can be strong underwater currents, which can trouble even the most confident of swimmers
- reservoirs are often very deep - it is difficult to estimate depth and they can be deeper than people expect
- there may be hidden debris or underwater hazards which can cause injury, including weeds and plants which can entangle people under the water
- if it’s polluted it could make you ill
- it can be very difficult to get out (especially steep slimy banks)
- there are no lifeguards on duty
- the remoteness of some of these places can also hamper and delay rescue attempts
Quarries are not a playground, and quarry lakes in particular pose the greatest risk. They are often much colder than rivers, lakes and reservoirs as they can be fed by water sources that originate deep underground.
A sudden plunge into cold water starts a gasp response, which can cause drowning within seconds.
You can get more information at this link:
Tips on staying safe
Ideally people, especially children, shouldn’t go anywhere near quarries, treatment works or construction sites. But if there is a place like this nearby, people should:
- obey ‘danger’ signs - reservoirs and treatment works can be dangerous places, so stay well away
- never climb on barriers and fences - they are there to protect people from serious injury and accidents around construction sites
- stay away from trenches and open manholes - they are dirty, deep and may contain hazardous gases
- keep clear of equipment - don’t be tempted to touch diggers, lorries, pipes and other equipment
You can find out more about water safety on the keeping safe on waterways and at the coast page.
A swim or a dip in a reservoir, quarry or lake may seem like a great idea, particularly on a very warm day, but it could all end in tragedy. Don’t take the risk.