Heatwave: Water Safety Scotland urge public to be safe around water during warm weather

The public have been warned of the dangers of cold water shock, as hundreds of Scots are expected to visit waterways to cool down during next week’s heatwave.

Sudden immersion in water can lead to Cold Water Shock (CWS), which can affect even the strongest swimmers. It overwhelms the ability to breathe and to swim, which can lead to drowning.

Last year, 58 people lost their lives to accidental drowning in Scotland, the majority of which were in inland open waterways such as rivers, canals and lochs.

As temperatures are expected to hit 30 degrees at the start of the week, Water Safety Scotland is calling on people to follow the Water Safety Code.

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The Water Safety Code is a three-step code which provides advice to help keep the public safe when near open water. The steps are: Stop and Think, Spot the Dangers, Stay Together, Stay Safe and In an Emergency, Call 999.

Anyone heading out for a swim should learn how to keep safe around water, follow local safety guidance and avoid alcohol on and near waterways.

Water Safety Scotland said: “It is important in the hot weather to resist the temptation to enter cold water. Although the air temperature is hot, waterways in Scotland are very cold and entering them can lead to Cold Water Shock. Water Safety Scotland’s key message is to follow the Water Safety Code. This code provides lifesaving information and we urge the public to learn the code and teach their families and friends about it.”

Scots have been urged to stay safe in the water when a heatwave hits next week.

Later this month, Water Safety Scotland will be hosting a free Water Safety Open Day at Helix Park, Falkirk. The event will be held on July 26 – World Drowning Prevention Day – between 11am – 3pm.

At the event, local communities are invited to visit information and activity stands, and watch various demonstrations. The Helix Park Lagoon will offer opportunities for the public to watch the Scottish Fire & Rescue Service (SFRS), the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and Police rescue capabilities, as well as Newfoundland rescue dogs in action and other demonstrations.

The Water Safety Code can be accessed online here: https://www.watersafetyscotland.org.uk/information/water-safety-code/