We may be basking in a heatwave but police are warning people about the dangers of swimming in the borough’s open waters such as at Newstead Abbey and the Netherfield Lagoons.
The appeal comes after a heartbroken mum whose son drowned while saving two friends teamed up with Nottinghamshire Police to warn of the dangers of swimming in open water.
Nicola Jenkins lost her 12-year-old son, Owen, in July 2017, after he had gone into Beeston Weir to help two friends.
After rescuing one friend, who’d got into difficulties, Owen returned to the water to rescue another friend but the current was too strong and it dragged him under. Sadly he didn’t resurface.
Owen gave his life to save another and died a hero.
Nicola is urging young people not to enter rivers, lakes and canals and to be aware of the dangers, now that schools have broken up for the summer holidays.
More people will potentially visit county beauty spots to enjoy warmer weather as the Covid-19 lockdown eases.
Mrs Jenkins, who founded the Open Water Education Network (OWEN) water safety programme in Owen’s memory, said: “With the weather getting warmer, water is inviting. The first thing children want to do is cool off but they don’t think about the dangers.
“If you jump into the water the temperature outside is warmer than the temperature of the water so you’re probably likely to go into cold water shock. That’s where your body goes into an automatic shock response so your heart beats faster and you start gasping for air.
“There are also hidden dangers like undercurrents, debris in the water and potentially sharp objects.
“Don’t take the risk by going into the water just for some fun. It’s really not worth your life.
“I’d also urge parents to speak to their children about the risks of what can happen by going into open water and tell them about Owen’s story.”
Inspector Chris Pearson is the Neighbourhood Policing Inspector responsible for local policing in the Gedling borough area.
He said: “Owen’s tragic death during the summer of 2017 should still be fresh in the minds of Nottinghamshire residents. “This tragic incident serves as a stark reminder of the very real dangers of swimming or playing in open water, no matter how tempting it may appear in warm weather.
“Water such as reservoirs or lagoons can be very cold, even in the summer months, and people suddenly entering cold water are susceptible to hyperventilation, which could result in the body going into seizure.
“There can also be hidden currents and unseen dangers such as mud banks or items under the water which a swimmer can become caught on.“As inviting as the water can look, it simply isn’t worth the risk.
“There are still plenty of things to do safely near open water sites and we don’t want to discourage people from enjoying the activities some sites provide – but please be safe.
“The best way to stay safe is to avoid swimming in open water and ensure that you only enter water where there is adequate supervision and rescue cover.
The dangers of open water include:
- Temperature – the water can be extremely cold, which can lead to a number of physiological conditions which affect the ability to swim
- Strong or hidden currents – water being pumped out of reservoirs creates currents which aren’t always noticeable
- Depth – it is difficult to estimate the depth of open water and it can change dramatically, even close to the bank
- Hidden hazards – such as weed, rubbish or broken glass which could trap a young person or cause injury
- Climbing out – once in the water, it can be difficult to get out due to steep, slimy or crumbling banks
- Pollution – this can affect any stretch of water, but may particularly be an issue at old industrial sites such as quarriesTo read more about water safety on the Royal Life Saving Society’s website visit: https://crowd.in/0n6hO6For more information about the Open Water Education Network (OWEN) visit their Facebook page here: https://crowd.in/VlGZgp