Families and children in Harborough are being urged to stay out of the waterways this summer

The Canal & River Trust is urging people to pledge not to go near the edge as youngsters enjoy their summer holidays

Tuesday, 27th July 2021, 9:38 am
Families and children in Harborough are being implored to stay out of the waterways this summer.

Families and children in Harborough are being implored to stay out of the waterways this summer

The Canal & River Trust is urging people to pledge not to go near the edge as youngsters enjoy their summer holidays.

They are putting out the call as tragically both children and adults are drowned swimming in the country’s waterways every summer.

“Summer is one of the most popular times for people to visit Britain’s canals and rivers.

“With more people remaining local and holidaying close to home this year, the Trust is expecting many of its waterways to be particularly popular.

“In summer 2020, during the pandemic, canals were a local outdoor lifeline for many people,” said the Canal & River Trust.

“Visits in many urban areas more than doubled as people headed to one of the Trust’s canals or rivers for their exercise and to get closer to nature.

“However, of the 400 people who drown in the UK every year, more than half the fatalities happen at inland waters such as canals, rivers, lakes, quarries and reservoirs.”

The charity is asking people to experience all the safe ways to make the most of our canals but to avoid getting in the water:

- Canal and river water will be really cold, even in the summer, and immersion in cold water could bring on cold water shock. Have a cool drink instead

- If you want to jump and dive, head to your local swimming pool. Canals can be shallow and you could hurt yourself if you jump in

- Lounge in the shade of waterside trees, rather than get tangled in waterway reeds

- Have an ice lolly at a waterside café

- Keep your cool – chill out by the water and enjoy the feeling of peacefulness it brings you.

Debbie Lumb, national health and safety adviser at the Canal & River Trust, said: “Spending time on or by Britain’s waterways is a lovely way to spend a summer’s day and they are excellent places for families to explore during the warm weather.

“But it’s also important that people, especially children and teenagers, are aware of the dangers of cooling off by going for a dip.

“The consequences can be devastating.

“Inland waterways, like canals, rivers, reservoirs and docks can look really inviting but you can’t tell what is below the surface.”

She added: “The water often isn’t clear and you won’t be able to see the depth or any obstacles in the water.

“Please stay away from the edge and don’t get in the water, it’s just not worth it.

“If you want to swim outside, find an open water swimming club near you by visiting the Canal & River Trust website.

“There are lots of water safety-themed activities available for children on our website, a great thing to do when out for a stroll along the canal and a chance to talk to kids about water safety at the same time.”

The Canal & River Trust ‘Explorers’ water safety programme focuses on children in Key Stage 2 of the National Curriculum.

It aims to help young people learn about and enjoy their local canal or river safely and can also be used towards a number of Cub Scout and Brownie badges.

Dozens of volunteers nationwide help the Trust each year by visiting schools and speaking to youth groups about their local canal or river.

If you would like to see the free resources available or if you’re interested in helping the Trust educate young people about their local canal or river, visit www.canalrivertrust.org.uk/explorersFor tips on how to talk to your children about water safety and staying safe near canals and rivers, go to: https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/enjoy-the-waterways/safety-on-our-waterways/water-safety-tips-for-parents