Our fire and rescue crews regularly respond to emergency calls from people who have got into difficulty in the water and need to be rescued.
Scotland enjoys some the most beautiful rivers, lochs, canals and reservoirs that the UK has to offer - they attract thousands of visitors each year. It is important to remember though that if you are visiting one of these spots, water can pose risks.
We have put together some useful advice about what you can do to stay safe around water. If you are a parent, guardian or teacher you can also use information on this page to talk to children about water safety.
Have fun and stay safe
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 and can cause cramps or Cold Water Shock. Very cold temperatures can also affect your stamina and you may find your strength and ability to swim deteriorates rapidly. You might find yourself getting tired a lot more quickly than you would in a heated pool.
Open water can also look very calm on the surface, but strong undercurrents or unseen objects which could trap or injure you can lie beneath. It is also important to remember not to enter the water if you’ve been drinking alcohol – alcohol and water do not mix.
Parents, guardians and teachers
It is important to talk to children about their safety if they are playing near the water. Have a conversation about it today and explain:
- They should never swim in an unsupervised area like lochs, rivers or ponds where there is not an adult to help if they get into trouble
- 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 liferings by the side of waterways. That equipment might be used to save someone’s life.
For more information - The SAFE Code
- Scottish Water – staying safe near open water
- Royal Life Saving Society UK – prevention of drowning
- Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents – preventing accidents in the water
- Scottish outdoor access code – safety around canals, dams, rivers, lochs and reservoirs
- RNLI – safety at sea
- Water Safety Scotland – water safety information from a range of partners