Plea to stop vandalism on life-saving equipment

Vandals are putting lives at risk after United Utilities has seen a spike in throwline equipment being damaged.

The water company is pleading with visitors to its reservoir locations to enjoy the beautiful setting, but to stay out of the water and not to tamper with the throwline equipment at some of these locations which provides advice on how to help in an emergency and pinpoints an accurate location for fire and rescue services.

The throwline boards being damaged are often dedicated to people who have tragically drowned in the waters.

Swimming in reservoirs and other restricted inland waters is a problem that results in injuries and hundreds of tragic deaths every year.

This is because no matter how hot the weather may be, the temperature of a reservoir rarely rises above 11°C, meaning jumping into a reservoir can cause cold water shock which can kill even the fittest of people within 60 seconds.

Hidden currents from water pipes below the surface and hidden obstacles such as machinery for water treatment also presents a hidden but deadly risk. 

Tragically over 700 people in the UK and Ireland drown every year in open waters including reservoirs.

Paula Steer, director of health and safety and estate management at United Utilities said: “This kind of vandalism is not fun, it really can put people’s lives at risk.

“Our message has always been clear, people should never take the risk and swim in a reservoir, but at some locations we have life-saving equipment should the unthinkable happen.

“It is sad to see the damage done to this vital equipment, which some day may be needed by a friend or family member of those who carry this out.”

As teenagers are statistically the most likely to venture into reservoirs, United Utilities has launched a downloadable education pack to help parents and young people understand just how dangerous taking a dip can be.

“To help young people understand the importance of reservoir safety, we have created a new learning pack to educate them on the dangers of swimming in a reservoir in a fun and engaging way,” added Paula

To download United Utilities’ reservoir safety education pack, visit: