YOUNGSTERS are being warned to stay away from waterways this summer.
As the school holidays approach, British Waterways is reminding young people that canals, rivers, docks and reservoirs are not safe places to play.
The water can be extremely cold, causing cramps which can lead to even the strongest swimmers getting into trouble.
Waterways can be shallower than they appear or have hidden objects under the surface – so anyone jumping in could run the risk of serious injury.
Currents also pose a hazard, especially around locks and weirs.
Finally, there is the risk of canal or river water bringing on illness, such as Weil’s Disease, which is carried by rats and caught when bacteria in water enter cuts or the nose and mouth, and can be fatal.
It is not just young people who are risk around waterways – adults can be in danger too if they are not alert or are under the influence of alcohol.
Diana Smith, British Waterways safety advisor, urged people to enjoy waterways responsibly, by using safe facilities created for visitors, such as paths, swimming areas and cycle ways.
She said: “British Waterways cares for 2,200 miles of inland waterways and is committed to enabling everyone to enjoy them to the full – safely.”