Water safety

Being in and around water is great fun, but water can be very dangerous. We want you to have fun visiting our leisure sites, but we also want you to keep safe.

RESERVOIRS

Swimming is not allowed at any of our reservoirs, so thank you for not swimming or paddling in them. Our reservoirs are very beautiful and it may be tempting to take a dip on a hot day, but they are operational sites so there are many hidden dangers underneath the water. These can include unknown depths, extremely cold water, machinery and really strong underwater currents as the water is pumped from the reservoir through to the water supply chain so even the strongest of swimmers can get into serious difficulty. 

COLD WATER SHOCK

Jumping into cold water can kill you in less than a minute. Even when the sun is out and the weather is hot, the water underneath the surface can be really cold as the heat of the sun cannot reach it. As you enter the water, your body goes into shock. This means that you automatically gasp for air which means you can inhale water into the lungs leading to drowning. The cold water can also cause abnormal heart rhythms with could lead to a heart attack – even in healthy young people.

Our colleagues in Welsh Water have created the¬†video below which shows how quickly cold water shock can take hold. The RNLI’s Float to live campaign gives potentially life-saving advice for if you accidentally fall into cold water. We recommend you take a look at the advice at www.respectthewater.com.

GENERAL WATER SAFETY CHECKLIST

There are dangers that can kill in lakes, reservoirs, rivers, canals, open water, ponds and the sea. Here are a few things you should remember.

DANGER DEEP WATER NO SWIMMING RED FLAG - DANGER NO SWIMMING

• Take notice of any safety advice or warning signs, such as no swimming signs, a red flag or danger deep water signs.
• Always accompany children. Stay close to your group and stay in sight at all times.
• Never go near water if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs – this is the number one cause of water-related deaths.
• Stay clear of strong currents, weirs, rapids and reservoir edges.
• Watch out for slippery banks, soft sand and rocks.
• Don’t jump or dive in – you don’t know how deep it is going to be.
• Wear something on your feet. There may be sharp rocks, rubbish or broken glass under the water.
• Messing around can be dangerous - don’t splash water at other people or push them over.
• Get out of the water as soon as you start to feel cold.
• If you accidentally fall in, don’t panic. Lean back, relax and try to float until you catch your breath and you can safely swim back or call for help.
• Never go deeper than welly height when playing in rivers as the strong current can easily knock you over.
• Cover any cuts and scratches with water proof plasters. Weil’s Disease can be caught from rat urine.
• Learn to swim - it could save your life.

Learning to swim could save your life and swimming pools are the safest places to swim. Water is fun and if you are sensible and follow the water safety rules, you can have a brilliant time with your family and friends.

Respect our rivers

Teesdale and Weardale Search and Mountain Rescue Team.

Cold Water Shock: Firefighter Tom Richardson

School′s out for summer and it can be fun being around water, but stay safe these summer holidays. Here’s Firefighter Tom Richardson of Tyne & Wear Fire and Rescue Service, with a video about cold water shock.

England Rugby star gives her water safety tip

One of the most capped players in English Rugby history, Tamara Taylor has taken time out to give her tip for staying safe around water - and it′s all about protecting your feet from hidden dangers beneath the surface.

Newcastle Eagles′ Themba Yabantu - Look after your friends around water

Being around water can be fun, but it also carries serious, life-threatening dangers. Newcastle Eagles basketball player Themba Yabantu explains why teamwork can help keep you safe.

Olympian Chris Cook warns of water dangers

Being around water can be fun, but it also carries serious, life-threatening dangers. Here, Olympian and Commonwealth champion Chris Cook gives his water safety tip.

One Last Breath (contains scenes you may find upsetting)

You may think you’re a good swimmer, but the freezing temperatures, deadly currents and hidden machinery of a reservoir will drag you under. (Powerful content that some people may find upsetting).

Paralympian Dame Sarah Storey and Team Storey: Stay safe around water

Being around water can be fun, but it also carries serious, life-threatening dangers. Here, Paralympian Dame Sarah Storey and her Storey Racing team give their water safety advice.

Stay safe around water

Being around water can be fun, but it also carries serious, life-threatening dangers.

Stay Safe Around Water - Tom′s Tip

Being around water can be fun, but it also carries serious, life-threatening dangers.

Water safety: Great Britain Stand Up Paddle Board Champion Anna Little

Being around water can be fun, but it also carries serious, life-threatening dangers.

Downloadable content

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    Schools and community - water safety

    As the summer holidays approach and with the weather being extra warm, we wanted to remind you about the importance of water safety.

    PDF0.24mb

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    Stay safe

    Be aware of hidden dangers around water.

    PDF0.47mb

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    Stay safe

    Be aware of hidden dangers around icy water.

    PDF1.27mb

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    Stay safe

    Keep clear of the weir at Riding Mill.

    PDF2.50mb

Water for health

tap water  

Water. We cook, clean and wash with it... but how often do you drink it? We don't mean in a tea, coffee or added to some squash, we mean just drinking the real good stuff straight from the tap! Find out more

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