The charity that looks after many of the rivers and canals across Lancashire is urging people, especially teenagers, to stay out of the water this summer and find alternative ways to cool down.
The Canal and Rivers Trust, which looks after the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and Foulridge Reservoir, issued the warning following the recent tragic death of a teenage boy who was swimming in Greenbooth Reservoir, Rochdale.
Summer is one of the most popular times for people to visit Britain’s canals and rivers, and last year there were more than 385 million visits made by boaters, cyclists, runners, walkers and canoeists.
Unfortunately, when the weather warms, young people are risking their lives by jumping into canals and rivers to cool down. Of the 400 people who drown in the UK every year, more than half the fatalities happen at inland waters such as canals, rivers, lakes, quarries and reservoirs.
Tony Stammers, who heads up the Canal and River Trust’s safety team, said: “Spending time along a canal or river is a lovely way to spend a summer’s day and they are excellent places for families to explore during the holidays.
"But it’s also important that people, especially children and teenagers, are aware of the dangers of cooling off by going for a dip. The consequences can be devastating.”
The Canal and River Trust Explorers’ water safety programme, which focuses on children in Key Stage 2 of the National Curriculum, aims to help young people learn about and enjoy their local canal or river safely and can also be used towards a number of Cub Scout and Brownie badges.
If you’d like to see the free resources available or if you’re interested in helping the Trust educate young people about their local canal or river, visit www.canalriverexplorers.org.uk