If you’re thinking of swimming in open waters this summer, for example in a lake, stream, quarry or reservoir, then please don’t.
Lots of people think it is safe to swim in open waters to cool off in the hot weather, but this isn’t the case at all. There are strong currents that can change without warning and sweep you out to higher water. Often the freezing cold temperatures of the water might seem refreshing at first but can quickly make your body shut down. Your body will stop the blood supply to your skin, which makes your heart work harder. Legs and arms can stop working in response to the cold weather so you obviously won’t be able to swim as well as you thought you could.
Also, the natural reaction upon hitting cold water is to take a breath in. You can’t hold your breath for too long so you will start over breathing and taking in water. Over breathing makes you feel light headed and deprive brains of oxygen.
Hardly any reservoirs or lakes have life guards nearby, so if you get into trouble who is going to come and rescue you? There could be a passer-by who spots you and can call for help, but what if there isn’t?
Waters aren’t as clear as you would expect. There is the potential for underwater objects that you could hit and cause serious injury.
United Utilities have put together a haunting video highlighting the dangers of ignoring warning signs and swimming in reservoirs. In the video, a young boy tries to impress a girl by taking a dip in the water. You’ll have to watch the video to see what happens next.