Open water safety warning
A SAFETY representative is encouraging people in Inverclyde to take care in and around open water during the current spell of warm and sunny weather.
Councillor John Crowther, the council’s representative on Accident Awareness Scotland’s Water & Leisure Safety Committee, is urging residents to take care when visiting reservoirs, lochs and other watercourses.
It comes as people head out and about to enjoy another spell of nice weather and follows the recent tragic deaths of six people in Scotland during the last heatwave in July.
The warm and largely dry conditions are expected to last into next week.
Councillor Crowther said: “Following the recent tragic events, it is now critical that we take notice of the dangers of open water and learn from it, especially with the warm and sunny weather set to continue and many people thinking of visiting our shores, rivers and inland waters.
“One of the greatest dangers in wild water swimming is that of cold water shock and according to the RNLI anything below 15°C is defined as cold water and can seriously affect your breathing and movement so the risk is significant most of the year.
“Cold water is unforgiving and must be respected so please do not take any chances and understand the risks.
“If anyone sees someone in difficulty, remember to dial 999 and ask for the coastguard.”
The council’s water safety representative also condemned those who recently removed lifesaving equipment from a local beauty spot.
Councillor Crowther said: “It is bitterly disappointing that within 24 hours of the council replacing two lifebuoys at Coves Reservoir a few weeks ago, one of them had been removed from its station and thrown into the water.
“Fortunately the heaving line was still attached and the lifebuoy retrieved and returned to its station.
“However, it was discovered during a further check of the other lifebuoys at Coves Reservoir that heaving lines had been cut or removed and some used to make tree swings.
“On top of that, there has been the malicious destruction of the Lifebuoy Stations themselves by means of fire-raising.
“This sort of behaviour is completely unacceptable and highly dangerous and such irresponsible actions could result in loss of life."
For more information about the dangers of open water visit www.rnli.org/safety/know-the-risks or log on to coastguardsafety.campaign.gov.uk.