Grassy hill with lake and mountains in the background

Open Water Safety

Around 85% of accidental drownings occur at open water sites, such as lakes, lochs, rivers, canals, reservoirs and quarries.

Many of these drownings happen as a result of a lack of knowledge or understanding about open water safety. Read our safety advice to stay safe if you're planning to swim outdoors.



Open Water Safety Tips

  • Always look for warning and guidance signs 
  • Swim parallel with the shore, not away from it
  • Avoid drifting in the currents
  • Do not enter fast flowing water
  • Be aware of underwater hazards
  • Get out of the water as soon as you start to feel cold
  • Never enter the water after consuming alcohol
  • Always wear a buoyancy aid or lifejacket for activities on the water or at the water’s edge, such as boating or fishing
  • Always take someone with you when you go into or near water. If something goes wrong they will be able to get help
  • If someone is in difficulty in the water, provide reassurance, shout for help and call 999
  • See if you can reach out to them with a stick, pole or item of clothing – lie down to ensure you stay secure
  • Check to see if there's ring buoy or something that floats that you can throw out to them

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