Water can contain hazards, particularly in and around structures such as bridges, locks and flood channels, as well as dangerous tides along the coast. Unexpectedly cold waters or strong currents can also catch bathers off guard, but vigilance can save lives and water-related accidents can be avoided by knowing how to stay safe.

Be safe on the beaches

Russell Robson, Strategic Specialist for the Environment Agency, explains: “This year is going to be a busy one for river events and festivals on the River Thames and we expect the river to be a focal point for a lot of people’s leisure time. We would like people to enjoy the water but to remember some basic safety points when out having fun. We often see youngsters jumping off bridges along many of the rivers in the southeast and, while this can be great fun, there are hidden dangers in the water that could cause them to get into difficulties. We are urging parents to supervise their children closely in and around water and make sure they do not go into the water alone.”

To help the public stay as safe as possible this summer, the Environment Agency has provided some information to consider when planning your days out:

(1) Don't jump or dive in, as the depth may vary and there can be unseen hazards.

(2) Don't go in near weirs, locks, pipes and sluices. These and some other water features are often linked with strong currents.

(3) Inland waters can be very cold, no matter how warm the weather. Those going into cold water can get cramp and experience breathing difficulties very quickly.

(4) Most importantly, parents and guardians can help keep children in their care safe by teaching them to swim and by supervising them closely when near any open water.