Reservoirs and other water bodies can look like a perfect place to spend a beautiful day; this can be particularly so as we enter the summer months. But that calm exterior can carry real danger that everyone should be aware of – a Quick Dip can very easily lead to a Quick Death!
In order to help make this summer safe for everyone, NI Water and Quarry Products Association NI have united to put out a strong message to the community, especially young people, to stay away from reservoirs, quarries and other bodies of water that are not usually open for public access.
As Michael Bergin, Health and Safety Manager at NI Water, explains, there is a real danger lying beneath the surface: “Understandably, a reservoir can look like the perfect place to cool down, and while it may look safe, it can be very dangerous. You may swim well in a warm indoor pool, but that does not mean that you will be able to swim in cold water.
“The dangers include:
- Very cold temperatures; the water can be bitterly cold even in the summer months.
- There can be strong underwater currents, which can trouble even the most confident of swimmers.
- Reservoirs are often very deep, often deeper than you expect
- There may be hidden debris or underwater hazards which can cause injury, including weeds and plants, which can entangle you under the water.
- It can be very difficult to get out (steep, slimy banks).
- There are no lifeguards on duty.
“A Quick Dip really can lead to a Quick Death, so stay safe!’’
Gordon Best, Chief Executive of The Quarry Products Association NI, said: ‘‘Safety around water in reservoirs and quarry lakes is a matter of concern to our organisations, and we are keen to raise awareness of the dangers as we enter the summer. The Quarry Products Association is pleased to work alongside NI Water in the promotion of cold water safety to encourage young people to stay safe around water bodies. We appeal to everyone to recognise the dangers and take care around cold water. A swim or a dip in a reservoir, quarry or lake may seem like a great idea, particularly on a very warm day, but it could all end in tragedy. Don’t take the risk.’’