Stay safe around water

Be aware of the risks of being in or around water. To reduce risk, here's advice on what to do to stay safe around water. Follow the Water Safety Code.

Stay safe around water

Scotland enjoys some of the most beautiful rivers, lochs, canals and reservoirs. But it is vital to be aware of the risks before being in or around water.  

To help reduce risk, we have put together some useful advice about what you can do to stay safe around water.

Have fun but be aware

Always follow the Water Safety Code before being in or around water. 

Sometimes it can be tempting to go for a dip in a river or loch, especially during the summer months. But swimming in unsupervised open water can be extremely dangerous.  

Open water can become very cold just a few feet under the surface, even in summer months. This can cause cramps or Cold Water Shock. Very cold temperatures can also affect your stamina. You may find your strength and ability to swim becomes difficult quickly. You might also tire quicker than you would in a heated pool.  

Open water can also look very calm on the surface. But there can be strong undercurrents or unseen objects which could trap or injure you.  It is also important to remember not to enter the water if you’ve been drinking alcohol – alcohol and water do not mix.

Parents, carers and teachers

It is important to talk to children about their safety if they are playing near the water. Have a conversation and explain:  

  • They should never swim in open waters where there is not an adult to help if they get into difficulty. 
  • It is much safer to go to a swimming pool where there is a lifeguard on duty. 
  • They should not play with or touch lifesaving equipment like life rings by the side of waterways. This equipment could save someone’s life.  

More information