Public urged to stay safe around water

Scottish Water is urging everyone to take care and stay safe near water courses and open bodies of water this winter, especially if they are accompanied by children or pets.
Scottish Water is urging everyone to take care and stay safe near water courses and open bodies of water this winter, especially if they are accompanied by children or pets.

Scottish Water is calling on people to stay safe around watercourses this winter.

The utility company is advising people to be vigilant and not to take risks around freezing cold rivers, reservoirs and lochs and any parts of watercourses that are covered in ice.

Many people head to their local reservoirs, lochs and rivers for walks and runs and are being urged to be safe and act responsibly when near open water.

People should not go too close to the edge because they could slip and fall in. Adults should keep children safe, and dogs should be kept on a lead if they are being walked near reservoirs and other bodies of open water.

The hidden dangers in reservoirs is also being emphasised as well as the care which needs to be taken if visiting one. Because of their purpose they have unique dangers such as dams, spillways and hidden water intakes as well as other hazards common to natural bodies of water. Also, as the majority of Scottish Water’s reservoirs are situated in remote locations, there is a lack of immediate assistance.

Peter Farrer, Scottish Water’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “Natural hazards can also lurk beneath the surface, where children and adults can get entangled in vegetation or stuck in mud. Water safety is a priority and we are urging people to stay safe this winter around reservoirs and any other bodies of water.”

Scottish Water’s safety message is being supported by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA).

Carlene McAvoy, community safety development officer for RoSPA Scotland, said: “In 2016, there were unfortunately 52 accidental deaths in Scotland due to drowning or submersion. While we really want everybody to get out and enjoy Scotland’s beautiful waterways throughout the year, we urge them to do so safely.

“We encourage parents to educate their children about the potentially-deadly dangers of walking on frozen water, as children are among those most at risk.”

Chief Inspector Lex Baillie, from Police Scotland’s Safer Communities, added: “Children and pets are at risk, as well as adults who try to save others. Make sure your children know never to go onto ice and keep dogs and other pets safe near ice and water.”