Isle folk are urged not to plunge into open water to try and get cool, following tragic incidents that include one this week at a lake in Auckley, when a young man’s body was recovered.
Ambulance service bosses in this region warn of freezing cold depth, strong undercurrents and unseen debris in water that can look inviting on the surface.
Every year the service is called out to help people who tried to cool off by swimming in rivers, reservoirs, ponds, quarries, lakes or canals. They get into difficulty and need emergency medical help.
Vince Larvin, Locality Director of Emergency Operations, said: “Our many waterways are popular destinations for people during the summer months, which can make them dangerous places for those who don’t understand the risks they are taking.
“It may be very appealing to jump into the water to cool off on a warm summer’s day but people need to be aware of how dangerous this really is. Water can look calm on the surface but contain unseen debris and, rivers in particular, can have treacherous undercurrents. Furthermore, the temperature of deep water is much colder than people would expect and, even on a hot summer’s day, rarely gets above freezing.
“The near-freezing temperature of deep water is cold enough to take your breath away, which is the body’s natural reaction and cannot be controlled, possibly leading to panic and drowning. Cold can also make your arms and legs numb which means you can’t control them to swim and can also lead to hypothermia - a serious reduction in body temperature - which can cause heart failure.
“Although it is banned, people are also often tempted to swim in reservoirs without realising that there is automatic equipment located under the surface which can operate without warning and cause dangerous hidden currents.”
He continued: “Lives have already been lost this year across the UK and we don’t want to see anyone else hurt or injured. The message is simple; enjoy the summer, stay out of open water and stay safe!”