Stay safe by waterPublished Tuesday, 16th August 2016
Rotherham residents – particularly children, young people and parents – are being urged to be vigilant about the dangers of swimming in open water.
Temperatures are set to rise across the region. With temperatures forecast to hit 22 degrees, some may be tempted to cool off by taking a dip in the nearest lake or river. However, they may not be aware that if they do this they are putting their lives at risk.
Rotherham Council is reminding people that such areas are not designed for swimming and the water can be deep and cold with unpredictable currents. Submerged objects can also be a hazard, as well as pollution and micro-organisms such as Weil’s disease, spread by rats.
In addition to these hazards, with no-one supervising these places help may not be on hand should anyone get into difficulties. Even people who feel they are strong swimmers can be at extreme risk.
Rotherham Council’s Cabinet Member for Neighbourhood Working and Cultural Services, Cllr Taiba Yasseen stressed the dangers involved and urged people to visit their local leisure centre or water play area instead.
She said: “It’s understandable that people want to cool down in hot weather, but stretches of open water are not designed for safe swimming. The combination of cold water and dangerous currents can mean that people are very quickly in trouble – even if they are a strong swimmer and their life can easily be at risk.
“We would also urge parents to be very vigilant, and ensure that their children are aware of the very real dangers of swimming in open water.
“There are safe alternatives - Rotherham has four modern indoor swimming pools situated across the borough in: Aston-cum-Aughton, Maltby, Rotherham (Effingham Street) and Wath-upon-Dearne.
“In addition Clifton Park has a fantastic water splash area which allows children of all ages to cool down and have fun in a safe environment.”
Adults are also reminded that swimming in water on Rotherham Council land is against bylaws and can lead to prosecution with fines up to £500.
More information on the dangers of open water swimming can be found on South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue’s website.
Rotherham’s four leisure centres are all staffed to a high standard by fully qualified and trained lifeguards and are the safest place to swim or cool off in the summer months. The pools are great fun and offer a wide variety of activity programmes for people of all ages and abilities.