Ware Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) have undertaken basic water rescue training, in response to a rise in calls around young people swimming in open water.
Officers attended a training session hosted at Ware Lock by Herts Boat Rescue, where they leant about the dangers of swimming in open water and safe recovery techniques.
Local SNT Sergeant Tom Prior said: “During the current warm weather it may be tempting to cool off by taking a dip in inviting water, but it could be a potentially fatal decision.
“Open water swimming is prohibited in some bodies of water as it comes with some very real risks. It is almost impossible to determine the dangers that lie beneath the surface; you could become entangled in weeds or rubbish, contract a waterborne disease or be overpowered by the sudden extreme cold or strong undercurrent. It’s really not worth the risk.
“I’d like to thank Herts Boat Rescue for working with us and for the hard work they do to educate and keep people safe.”
The following advice is taken from our colleagues at Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service:
Even on a very hot day, the water can be freezing. As soon as you enter the water you can lose your breath and experience what is called cold water shock. It makes it hard for you to swim and can lead to drowning.
There are many unseen dangers when swimming in a river, lake or canal. You can never know what dangers lie beneath the surface of open water, so it's better to wait for swimming pools to be open, or investigate whether local groups in your area run guided open water swimming.
If you come across a water emergency, dial 999 straight away. Don’t attempt to get in to the water yourself to rescue someone – the chances are that you’ll need to be rescued too.
Know your location so you can tell emergency services where you are. A great way to do this is to download the what3words app, which divides the world into 3 metre squares giving each location a unique address which will help 999 call handlers pinpoint your exact location in the event of an emergency.