Warning on safe summer swimming

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As summer heats up, swimmers in Aberdeenshire have bee reminded to play safely in the regions beautiful rivers, reservoirs and lochs.

Scottish Water has advised people not to take risks around watercourses and is calling on children and parents in particular to take care near water during the warm summer holidays.

New figures from the National Water Safety Forum show that in 2012, 371 people drowned accidentally across the UK, including 43 children and young people.

The majority (203) took place in rivers, canals, lochs, streams and reservoirs.

Steve Scott, Scottish Water’s regional communities team manager for Aberdeenshire, said: “While it’s important that youngsters enjoy their school holidays and that people across Scotland take pleasure in the country’s beautiful waters it’s also vital that they stay safe.

“We are reminding parents to keep their children safe and asking adults to act responsibly around watercourses.”

Carlene McAvoy, community safety development officer at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents Scotland, said: “During periods of hot weather and school holidays, there is often a rise in the number of accidental drownings, which is why it is important to be extra vigilant around inland waters, such as rivers, lakes, lochs, quarries and reservoirs.

“The water can be a lot colder than expected, which can lead to a swimmer going into cold shock; in the worst case, a swimmer will inhale water and the drowning process begins.

“There may also be strong currents and underwater debris that you cannot see from the bank, so don’t go alone, and consider how you are going to get out of the water before you get in.

“Be honest about your swimming ability.

“The safest option is to go swimming at properly-supervised sites, such as beaches, lidos or swimming pools, although we appreciate that not everyone can get to these locations.”