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23.07.2003

Summer Safety

Enjoy the waterways safely this summer

Now the school summer holidays are here, British Waterways London, Thames Water, the Port of London Authority, the Environment Agency, Lee Valley Regional Park Authority and the London Home and Water Safety Council have joined forces to remind people not to swim in canals, rivers, docks and reservoirs and to enjoy the waterways safely. Thames Water also stresses the importance of not entering sewage and water treatment works, under any circumstances.

Canals, rivers, docks and reservoirs may look inviting on a warm day but everyone should resist the temptation to enter them. Deep water will remain extremely cold even on a hot day and the resulting shock can swiftly weaken even the strongest swimmer. There can also be objects hidden under the surface which pose a danger, as do currents created by passing boats and water movements. In other places deep silt and mud can present other hazards. The waterways are also home to naturally occurring organisms, not found in swimming pools, that can cause stomach upsets.

Emma Burford, safer waterways for London co-ordinator, said: “We want people to enjoy the waterways this summer but the most important thing is that they do it safely and that children are accompanied by an adult. There are many supervised waterway events happening across the waterway network this summer, for example Safer Waterways for London is organising canoe lessons on the Limehouse Cut in August.”

London has a fantastic network of waterways including the River Thames, the Rivers Lee and Stort, the Grand Union and Regent’s Canals and London’s Docklands. They are a popular retreat during summer and used safely they can provide enjoyment for everyone, remember to follow the five water safety rules:

Don’t swim
Don’t go it alone
Identify the dangers
Take safety advice

For more information about canoe lessons or water safety training email emma.burford@leariverstrust.co.uk and for more information about waterway events visit www.waterscape.com.

Notes to editors

  • Between them, British Waterways London, Thames Water, the Environment Agency, Lee Valley Regional Park Authority and the Port of London Authority manage London’s waterway network. They have come together to highlight the importance of being safe around the water, an issue of particular significance during the summer months.
  • Safer Waterways for London is a partnership aiming to promote safe practice on London’s waterways. The partners involved are British Waterways London, London’s Waterway Partnership, Lea Rivers Trust, Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, the Environment Agency and Thames Water.
  • Since it started Safer Waterways for London has delivered water safety training and activities to 5000 young people, worked with 30 community groups and 30 voluntary organisations and has taken contributed to six community safety initiatives.

For media information and photographs contact:

Rosemary Beazley, British Waterways, Tel. 020 7432 8327,  Fax. 020 7286 7306,  M 07884 238912