Milton Keynes Council warns people not to swim in open water

The Council's community safety team are urging people not to go into any open water such as canals, rivers and lakes including the Blue Lagoon in MK.

Friday, 26th May 2017, 5:00 pm
Updated Sunday, 4th June 2017, 9:15 pm
Stay safe - stay out of the water

During hot weather people are more tempted to swim or dive into open water areas but the Council is advising that the only safe place to swim is at supervised swimming pools where the water is clean and warm and there are lifeguards.

Around 85% of accidental drownings occur at open water sites. Many of these are due to a lack of knowledge and understanding of open water safety.

Although the water may look calm, cool and inviting, under the surface there may be hidden dangers such as weeds, rubbish or branches or strong currents that could cause difficulty to a swimmer.

Despite the hot weather, open water can be very cold and the shock of this to the body could be very dangerous. Cold water shock is a physical response by your body when entering cold water and it can affect your breathing, reduce your muscle ability and even lead to a heart attack.

Another risk is blue-green algae which thrives during the summer months and exposure to this can cause serious health problems.

The council monitors its growth but swimmers could get symptoms including skin rashes, nausea, vomiting, stomach pains, fever and headaches if exposed to it.

Occasionally they can cause more serious illness such as liver and brain damage. The algae can also be dangerous to animals especially dogs who enjoy going in and out of lakes, rivers and streams.

Open water could also be contaminated with animal urine which can also lead to health problems.

If you witness people swimming in the lakes, ponds, the river or canal, call Thames Valley Police on 101. In an emergency call 999.