The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is urging people to stay safe in and around water this summer
26 July 2021
The reminder has been issued following the deaths of six people in Scotland's waterways between Friday, July 23 and Saturday, July 24.
This included the recovery of a 16-year-old from the water at Balloch Country Park on Friday, July 23, an 11-year-old from the Alexander Hamilton Memorial Park in Stonehouse on Saturday, July 24, and a 13-year-old from water at Hazelbank, near Lanark on Sunday, July 25.
On Saturday, July 24, a further three people lost their lives in water near Pulpit Rock, Ardlui. They were a 41-year-old man, 29-year-old woman and a nine year old boy, while a seven year old boy remains in hospital in intensive care.
Alasdair Perry is the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s Deputy Assistant Chief Officer and Head of Prevention and Protection.
He said: “I would like to offer my sincere condolences and those of everyone at the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service to those affected by this weekend’s tragic events. They are a very sad reminder that Scotland's waterways can be dangerous, and we are asking everyone to take care and heed all available advice."
Many people have chosen to visit lochs, rivers, and reservoirs due to the warm weather.
However, despite high temperatures, the water can still be extremely cold and people can get into difficulty due to cold water shock. This can interrupt breathing, cause loss of strength and coordination and affect swimmers of any age, fitness, or experience level.
Scotland’s many waterways can also have hidden dangers such as fast moving currents or obstacles which can also present a risk.
DACO Perry advises: “If you do get into trouble, try to keep calm then control your breathing. Lie on your back, spread out your arms and legs and float or swim. Then shout for help and, if you can, make your way to safety. We would ask that no-one swims alone and that, where you can, have the proper buoyancy and safety equipment. Never leave children or young people unattended and do not mix alcohol with swimming.”
Water Safety Scotland is a voluntary association of organisations and individuals whose main purpose is to understand the risks around water in Scotland and engage with partners to develop a consistent approach to the prevention of water related fatalities. The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is a member of that group.
He added: “We are committed to working with our partners and through Water Safety Scotland to educate as many people as possible about the risks involved in swimming or playing in water and, in coming weeks, we will be conducting more visits to popular areas to engage with swimmers and visitors directly. I would urge people to visit our website to find out more about how to stay safe."