Lockdown measures eased, but message on taking a dip in reservoirs is still clear

People are being warned by United Utilities and the Fire and Rescue Service from both Greater Manchester and Lancashire not to go swimming in reservoirs as the government eases lockdown measures allowing unlimited outdoor exercise.

Swimming in reservoirs is strictly not allowed due to the hidden dangers and risk of drowning. Despite these dangers, people jumping into reservoirs and other restricted inland waters is a problem that results in injuries and tragic deaths every year.

The region is blessed with some stunning reservoir locations, and even during the lockdown people have been spotted taking dips in reservoirs across the North West, with some people even turning up with inflatables.

Statistically most likely to venture in are teenagers, and Paula Steer from United Utilities said: “The government’s ease of lockdown restrictions is welcome news for many, however as a company, we fear this may lead to a surge in people visiting our reservoirs to go swimming, particularly children and young people.

“Deaths in reservoirs is a very real problem and despite our warnings, we continue to hear of the needless deaths of people, mainly teenagers, accidently drowning in open water.”

Area Manager Paul Fearnhead from Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service said: “As always we advise people not to enter or swim in open water – if there is no lifeguard then it is not safe to swim. Too many people have lost their lives after getting into difficulties in water – even the strongest of swimmers suffer from Cold Water Shock and can find themselves caught up in objects hidden beneath the water’s surface. Please wait for leisure centres to re-open before you think about swimming.

Group Manager, Mark Hutton, from Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service added; “people may be surprised to hear that firefighters deal with water rescues but we have six stations around the county that specialise in swift water rescue and two with specialist boat crews.

Due to the nature of drowning incidents prevention is always far better than cure as no matter how fast the emergency response is sometimes we just cannot get to the location of people in difficulty fast enough.”

More information on reservoir safety can be found at https://www.unitedutilities.com/about-us/recreation-sites/reservoir-safety/