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Enjoy the water safely as we welcome the holiday season

3 April 2023

Burrator Reservoir

Water safety is a key message for West Devon Borough Council, as the weather begins to warm up and the busy holiday season gets underway.

Most people head out to enjoy the water, especially when the weather starts to warm up. This holiday period, West Devon Borough Council is urging all water-users, whether weekend bathers, paddle boarders, canoeists, boat users or intrepid wild water swimmers, to be safe and visible.

The Council's Director of Place and Enterprise, asks water-users of all kinds to take extra care and reminds swimmers to always swim where boats and other water vessels are expecting you to be. Remaining visible and only swimming in safe designated areas are key to remaining safe.

If heading to the beach, the majority of swimmers stay on lifeguarded beaches, between red and yellow flags, but take extra care when swimming in areas where lifeguards are not around, such as inland rivers, lakes and more obscure locations.

Wherever swimming or enjoying water sports this holiday season please take care.

The RNLI's key safety advice for taking a dip is:

  • Keep a close eye on your family in the water - don't allow your family to swim alone.
  • If you fall into the water unexpectedly, FLOAT TO LIVE. Fight your instinct to thrash around, lean back, extend your arms and legs, and float.
  • If in doubt, stay out - there is always another day to go for a swim.
  • Take plenty of warm clothes for before and after your dip, along with a hot drink to help you warm up again when you come out of the water.
  • Wearing a wetsuit will help increase your buoyancy and reduce the chances of suffering cold water shock.
  • Acclimatise to the water temperature slowly - never jump straight in
  • Stay in your depth and know your limits.
  • If you get into trouble, remember FLOAT to live by leaning back in the water, extending your arms and legs, and resisting the urge to thrash around to gain control of your breathing.
  • Take a mobile phone in a waterproof pouch.
  • Visit a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags.
  • Keep a close eye on your family on the beach, especially younger children.
  • Check the weather forecast, tide times and read local hazard signage to understand local risks.
  • Be seen - wear a brightly coloured swim cap and consider using a tow float.
  • If you or someone else is in trouble, call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.

Chris Brook, Director of Place and Enterprise at West Devon Borough Council said:"As we start to embrace the warmer weather and the holidays begin, it is important that we take extra care when enjoying water-based activities. Being prepared and aware in and around the water is essential and families should take extra care when looking after children.

"Whether enjoying the beautiful lakes and waterways here in West Devon or visiting the nearby coastlines, we wish you a wonderful break."

You can find more information on beach safety and how to enjoy cold water swimming on the RNLI website here:

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