Living in rural East Ayrshire means many of us live in or very near to scenic areas with beautiful walks along river banks, reservoirs and lochs. The prolonged warm weather has made daily exercise an absolute pleasure and it may seem tempting to take a paddle or enter the water when it’s so warm but this could prove fatal.
Scottish Fire and Rescue regularly respond to emergency calls from people who have witnessed someone getting into difficulty in open water and on average 50 people drown each year.
Often people are unaware of the dangers of entering open water. Water temperatures in Scotland can remain cold even during warmer weather and cold water shock is one of the main causes of drowning. Cold water shock affects your ability to swim and can cause you to hyperventilate.
There are other dangers too. Fast flowing water or strong currents can be very dangerous. If you are walking with your dog, keep it on the lead near fast flowing rivers, they can also get into difficulty.
Councillor Douglas Reid, Leader of the Council said: “Each year we work with Scottish Fire and Rescue and Police Scotland to raise awareness of the dangers of swimming in open water. While we are lucky in East Ayrshire to be able to enjoy beautiful river side and loch walks, open water is incredibly dangerous and we have to ensure that we treat open water with the respect it deserves.
“I know that we all have so much to think about at the moment and that our daily walks in the sunshine are a time to relax, but it is essential that we protect each other by being aware of the dangers of cold and open water. Don’t be tempted to enter the water and if you do see someone in difficulty, shout reassurance to them and immediately call 999.”