Public reminded of the dangers of open water

Published: Tuesday, 27th July 2021

We are reminding the public of the dangers of open water swimming following a number of recent high-profile incidents across Scotland

Raising awareness of the risk of open water 

The Scottish Borders is home to some of Scotland’s most picturesque bodies of water, including rivers, lochs, reservoirs and the Berwickshire coast, attracting people from all over the country during the summer months.

Due to the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, increasing visitor numbers and a good spell of weather during the summer holidays, open water areas across the region are busier than normal.

A number of high-profile tragedies across Scotland in recent days and weeks has highlighted the risk open water poses to people of all ages.

Making yourself and others aware of the dangers 

  • open water is much colder and can cause cold water shock and cramps
  • very cold temperatures can also affect your stamina and you may find your strength and ability to swim deteriorates rapidly
  • strong currents can challenge even the strongest of swimmers
  • unseen objects could trap or injure you
  • steep, slippery banks make it tricky to get back out of the water
  • alcohol can significantly affect your ability to swim – don’t mix alcohol and water

Highlighting the risks to children

Whilst we are in the school summer holidays, parents and carers are also being asked to talk to their children about the dangers of open water swimming without the supervision of an adult.

Swimming pools across the region at Live Borders sites are now back in operation, offering fully supervised and safe swimming facilities throughout the summer. More information including opening times on the Live Borders website.

More information and digital resources  

Councillor Shona Haslam, Leader

“In the Scottish Borders we are blessed with many lochs, rivers, reservoirs and beaches which offer a range of recreational activities and provide the perfect backdrop for a summer day out.

“As restrictions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic ease, people have more reason than ever to make the most of the sunshine and as a result these areas of water will be in high demand.

“Sadly there have been a number of recent heart breaking stories of people drowning in open water, serving as a reminder of the dangers posed to people of all ages. I would urge everyone to follow the relevant safety advice when near or in the water.

“It is vital that everyone educates themselves on the potential dangers of the water and knows how to minimise the risks to ensure that any staycation or day out does not end in potential tragedy.”