Water safety lessons rolled out in classes

Yorkshire Water recorded 7,865 incidents of people swimming or intending to swim at just 18 of its reservoirs over the school summer holiday period, despite warnings not to the enter open water at its sites.

Monday, 11th October 2021, 11:03 am
Picture Tony Johnson

Many of the incidents, recorded between July 16 and September 12, involved unaccompanied children.

The water company is continuing to urge people not to enter the water at its sites due to the underestimated dangers, such as cold water shock, underwater machinery and unseen currents.

Gaynor Craigie, head of land and property at Yorkshire Water, said: “Sadly, our region saw a number of tragic water-related deaths over the summer, and we experienced a dramatic increase in people swimming at our sites, despite warnings not to enter the water.

“Our teams recorded almost 8,000 incidents over the summer holidays at just 18 of our 130 reservoirs.

“We know the true number of people entering the water will be much greater and we would urge people not to take any risks by getting into the water for any reason.

“The risks at reservoirs are often underestimated and it is important to raise awareness of these dangers.”

In a bid to educate children of the dangers posed by open water, Yorkshire Water has expanded its water safety education programme for the new school year.

The virtual assemblies and events are available to schools across the region and are aligned to Swim England’s water safety messaging.

The assemblies are available for early years, key stages 1 and 2 children, with plans in place to expand the events to children at key stage 3 and 4 later in the academic year.

Gaynor added: “Over the summer we have been working closely with the National Water Safety Forum to support with increased education in this area.

“Our water safety education offering has been expanded and we are now offering assemblies and events throughout the school year. Schools can sign up now for events in the autumn and spring terms.”

The company employed additional resources at reservoirs known as swimming hotspots during warm weather – Agden, Baitings, Broomhead, Dale Dike, Damflask, Digley, Homestyes, Mixenden, Ponden, Ramsden, Redmires, Rivelin, Roydmoor, Ryburn, Scout Dyke, Snailsden, Whitley and Winscar.