Archive for the ‘Water Safety’ Category


Belfast Live reports: A programme which aims to teach kids how to stay safe in open water is hosting free swimming lessons in Northern Ireland this summer.

Swim Safe, is coming to NI for the first time this summer to host free hour-long sessions for 7–14 year olds run by qualified swimming teachers and RNLI beach lifeguards, supported by a team of trained volunteers.

The sessions are designed to be practical, interactive, educational and fun for children who can swim at least 25 metres.

Every child that participates will receive 60 minutes of tuition, with the time split between land-based safety with a lifeguard and in-water tuition with a swimming teacher.

Wetsuits, swimming hats and a free goody bag with T-shirt are all provided.

RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor Jenny Thompson said: “Many children love swimming outdoors – but swimming in the sea, rivers and lakes is different to swimming in a pool and can often be much more challenging.

“The Swim Safe programme gives children the opportunity to learn about keeping safe when swimming outdoors and knowing what to do if they get into trouble.”

Visit the SwimSafe website to book your place and for more information.

Chris Ayriss comments: What a contrast this piratical program is to the warnings broadcast in 2014 “Don’t go in!”


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Eastern Daily Press reports: Fire crews stood down after man swimming in River Wensum in Norwich sparks alert.

A man swimming sparked drama in Norwich city centre when fire crews went to the scene believing he had got into difficulty.

A member of the public called Norfolk police because they were concerned at what they thought was a person in trouble in the River Wensum near the Ribs of Beef pub on Wensum Street.

Police contacted Norfolk Fire and Rescue and the service sent a fire engine from Earlham and its rescue boat from Carrow.

However, on arrival, at just after 7.45pm last night, it became clear there was no need for a river rescue.

A spokesman said: “On investigation it was found to be a swimmer who was happy to be in the water. We just offered some words of advice that a May night might not be the best time to go swimming.”

Do you know the safety 8?

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Dutch News reports:


Make the most of the last days of summer with a swim in a Dutch lake

The facilities for swimming in lakes and rivers are often excellent, with many boasting a mixture of spotless toilet blocks, manned car parks and refreshment vans, to ensure the best possible experience.
Amsterdam, for example, has nine official places where you can swim, if you dare, and the water is currently around 22 degrees. In fact in the Netherlands as a whole, there are around 600 official places to swim. Noord-Holland tops the provincial league with 151 but even Utrecht has 25 places you can take a safe dip.
Every province publishes an annual list of approved swimming spots, and the transport ministry – which manages 6,000 kilometres of rivers and canals – teams up with local water suppliers and the environment ministry performs weekly checks on the water quality at each site during the official swim season, between May 1 and October 1.

‘People here have always been keen swimmers but now the popularity of open water swimming is certainly increasing,’ says Ellen Julius of the Dutch swimming federation, which organised the event.
‘Swims like the one in Dordrecht are regularly happening across the country and attract lots of people. People love to take to the water in the Netherlands, but they are also well aware of the regulations around these activities,’ she adds.
And that really is the key. To all of you out there soaking up the last bits of summer, take the opportunities to swim outdoors but take heed of the warnings. Above all, enjoy.
* Visit www.zwemwater.nl for a clickable map of all the official swimming places


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Australia’s Lake Parramatta Attracts 12,000


The Sun Parramatta Holroyd reports:  The first full summer season of swimming at Lake Parramatta attracted 12,000 visitors between October 31 and March 13, according to the Australian Lifeguard Service.

Swimming was re-introduced to the lake for the first time in more than 70 years last year as part of the Parramatta River Catchment Group’s ‘Our Living River’ campaign to return swimming to the river by 2025.

“Lake Parramatta has been a popular spot for swimming since January last year and I’m sure it will continue to be for many summers to come,” Parramatta lord mayor Paul Garrard said.

The water temperature throughout the season ranged from a comfortable 20 to 27°C, well within safe swimming guidelines.

Bacteria levels were good outside of the rain periods.

While lifeguards won’t return to the lake until October, it remains open for swimming all year round.

It’s recommended people don’t swim for three days after heavy rain due to water quality concerns.

Lake Parramatta, North Parramatta NSW 2151, Australia

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The Guardian reports:

Rip Tide Cornwall

Two swimmers have been rescued by helicopter after they were swept out to sea by a strong rip current in Cornwall. They were part of a group of five swimming off Holywell Bay where high winds and rough seas created treacherous conditions on Sunday despite the unseasonably mild weather.

The coastguard was called to the stretch of coast, about eight kilometres (five miles) from Newquay, at about 2.30pm by one of the group who managed to make it back to shore.

Two more swimmers made it to safety, leaving a further two struggling against the swell… A coastguard search-and-rescue helicopter was scrambled to the scene. Due to the time of year, there were no lifeguards on duty on the coast. All five of the group were then flown to Royal Cornwall Hospital Treliske for medical treatment.

Emma Watkins from UK Coastguard warned beachgoers to beware of the dangers and not be fooled by the unseasonably mild temperatures.

“At this time of year, it is out of season. No lifeguards are on duty,” she said. “Whilst it may appear to look like a nice day it doesn’t mean the water is safe. We strongly advise people to check for warning signs.

“These swimmers had been part of a larger group visiting the beach.

“Thankfully one of the swimmers managed to raise the alarm.

“This serves as a reminder that the sea has hidden dangers and people should definitely think twice before entering the water.”

My comment: Would you know what to do if caught in a rip current?

This happened to me and my young son when on holiday in Cornwall. We had just arrived on holiday and went into the water in the life-guarded zone between the flags. Almost immediately a rip current began to drag us out to sea. I shouted to all the children nearby to get out of the water! We were bathing on Gwithian beach just below Sunset Surf. My son was about 10 years old and the water was only just up to my thighs.

The pull of the water was irresistible and we were soon swept out to sea at great speed. I told my son not to worry, explained what was happening and said we had to choose either to swim left or right along the beach. Depending on where we were in the rip, if we picked the wrong direction we could have a very long swim back to the seashore. He chose to swam to the right and as it happened we must have been on the far left of the rip so by the time we escaped the waters pull we were a very long way out. At Gwithian the lifeguards sit in a lookout hut up on the dunes/cliff. We could see the lifeguard hurtling down the beach on his quad bike but by now were well on the way back to the beach. By the time the lifeguard reached us I was standing in the water but he insisted my son climb on the rescue board so the he could rescue him.

My conclusions? Knowing what to expect and what to do meant that far from being a frightening experience this was really quite exciting.

Education saves lives…


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SHUT OUT: Residents of Rileys Hill are upset and angry that public access to the popular swimming hole will be closed after a decision by Crown Lands to fence the perimeter.

The Northern Star reports: YOUNG families at Rileys Hill near Broadwater are angry their favorite swimming hole will no longer be accessible after the Department of Primary Industries decided to fence an historic quarry adjacent to the village.

First created in the late 1800s to supply stone for the Ballina breakwall, the pit flooded suddenly in 1911, trapping quarrying equipment at its base and creating a delightful swimming hole that has provided pleasure for generations.

Excellent swimming hole

Many families moved to the village of Rileys Hill because they knew the flooded quarry would provide some respite from summer heat.

But now it seems swimming in old quarries is a pastime deemed too dangerous to public health and as a result the DPI – Lands is erecting a 1.8m chain-linked fence right around the entire perimeter.

Too dangerous to swim, they say.

According to a DPI-Lands spokesman public access is ‘prohibited due to safety hazards at the dormant quarry’.

“This is clearly stated in site signage,” explained the spokesman. “However, some members of the public continue to access the site and put their own safety at risk despite the signage.”

While there have been injuries and deaths at other quarries on the Northern Rivers, the DPI-Lands spokesman said the fencing project was not ordered as a result of those unfortunate accidents.

“This action is based on a safety audit and review of environmental factors at the quarry and is not related to incidents elsewhere,” the spokesman said.

Quarry vs Beach

Rileys Hill resident Angelique Walsh said her greatest concern was the obvious cost of the project and the irony that it would be closed to the public while a children’s park by the river at Woodburn, or even the dry dock at Rileys Hill – next to the river – remained unfenced. “I would much rather my children swim in this quarry than at the beach with sharks,” she said.

Some parents voiced concern that the closure of the quarry could even affect the value of their homes and properties, which were sold to them with the understanding that the swimming hole was within walking distance. There was also outrage that any opportunity for fun that involved risk was now being closed off to the next generation of children. “Measures like these are actually stunting children’s growth,” said Angelique. More…

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The Guardian reports: “Two men have died after getting into difficulty while [wild] swimming near a 100ft waterfall in Snowdonia. The men, aged 33 and 21, were found after emergency services were called to the scene near the Snowdon Mountain Railway, …Another two men, aged 27 and 25, were taken to hospital and received treatment before being released.”

“…The water beneath the waterfall carries thermal pockets of extremely cold temperatures because it very rarely receives sunlight. Siôn Jones, councillor for the nearby village of Bethel, said the deaths had shocked the community. “As a local councillor I’m really saddened and it’s a real shock to the area,” he said.”

Wild swimming is great fun but open water safety is paramount. Its always easy to be wise after the event but following simple safety advice makes sense!

Please review safety information for wild swimmers here…

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