Water rescue expert issues stark safety warning

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By Jamie Milligan

One of Scotland’s leading water rescue experts has warned of the dangers of swimming and bathing around Scotland’s coastlines.

Watch Manager Rab Paterson trains firefighters across the country in responding to water-based emergencies.

The highly experienced trainer is acutely aware of the dangers presented by entering water unprepared and is determined to highlight hidden dangers.

He said: “We all have a responsibility to help keep each other safe. As parents and carers, we have to educate our children on the dangers of water.

“People are attracted to beauty spots when the weather is good and, naturally, want to cool down. But it’s vitally important that people are aware of the potential dangers before they enter water.

“We all get a bit carried away when the sun is out, but we have to get the message across – water can be dangerous.

We work with our key partners, including the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution to get the message out that going into water can easily see you get into difficulty.”

Extended periods of warm weather can lead to an increase in people visiting areas of water to relax and cool down.

With the mercury levels likely to rise this summer, Watch Manager Paterson is keen to highlight that bodies of water like reservoirs can be inherently dangerous places.

He explained: “I teach firefighters how to treat things like cold water shock and that is a significant danger for anyone entering water unprepared.

“There’s a risk to responders too from people going into the water and getting into difficulty.

Ultimately, we want to keep everyone safe – our communities, and of course our firefighters and other responders.”

“If we do have a good summer and people want to cool off, then they need to be aware of the potential dangers they could face by entering water.”

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