Scottish Fire and Rescue Service warns of cold water shock as it urges people to stay safe in Scottish waters this summer following drowning deaths

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is reminding people to watch out for cold water shock and the safety actions to take following the deaths of six people in Scotland's waterways between Friday and Saturday.

As the weather has been sunny across Scotland, many people have chosen to visit lochs, rivers, and reservoirs.

However, despite high temperatures, the fire service is reminding people water can still be extremely cold and people can get into difficulty due to cold water shock.

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Cold water shock can interrupt breathing, cause loss of strength and coordination and affect swimmers of any age, fitness, or experience level.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is reminding people to watch out for cold water shock following the deaths of six people in Scotland's waterways between Friday and Saturday (Photo: Scott Merrylees).

Scotland’s many waterways can also have hidden dangers such as fast moving currents or obstacles which can also present a risk.

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Advising people of the actions they can take if they do get into trouble in the water, Alasdair Perry the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s Deputy Assistant Chief Officer and Head of Prevention and Protection said: “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.”

The warning comes following the drowning of a 16-year-old boy in the water at Balloch Country Park on Friday, an 11-year-old from the Alexander Hamilton Memorial Park in Stonehouse on Saturday, and a 13-year-old from water at Hazelbank, near Lanark on Sunday.

On Saturday, 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.

Mr Perry 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."

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