With the prospect of more hot weather and with the recent shocking surge of accidental drownings in the UK, please be informed of how to stay safe. 63% of drowning incidents actually occur in inland waters not at the seaside.
UK water is cold, anything below 15 degrees centigrade is defined as cold water. This can seriously affect your ability to breathe and move.
Cold water shock causes an involuntary gasp or inhalation and can increase your respiratory rate to 10 times faster than normal, causing a panic response which can lead to you breathing in water. The blood vessels in your skin contract causing resistance to blood flow, which increases the load on your heart, blood pressure increases and can cause a cardiac event even in young and fit swimmers. Open water swimmers do not just dive in to cold water. They acclimatise slowly and most actually wear wetsuits to retain body heat. 200 ml of water entering the lungs is all it takes for an adult to start drowning.
The average UK sea temperatures are 12 degrees centigrade.
Rivers, lakes and flooded quarries can be colder. The water flow can be much stronger than people imagine and unseen obstacles, debris and plant life can also entangle you.
Follow the water safety code, if you are in trouble resist the urge to thrash around in the water and learn to float on your back. Make yourself big like a starfish or spider by moving your arms and legs and extending them away from you. Get to the surface and float until you can regain control of your breathing. Best of all, avoid putting yourself in that situation. Only swim in lifeguarded, supervised areas.
Stay safe everyone...