Reminder to take care near rivers, lakes and seaside

Residents are being reminded to take extra care when enjoying the region’s rivers, lakes and seaside areas.

Northumbria Police and its partners have issued the reminder after recent incidents when people have got into difficulties after entering the water.

Now officers are asking people to think about water safety as the weather is warming up and more people are going out visiting the countryside’s rivers and lakes and region’s seaside.

Marine Officer Sergeant Steve Howe, from Northumbria Police, said: “We want people to enjoy taking part in water based activities – but we want them to do so safely without putting themselves or others at risk.

“Open water particularly rivers can be deceptive, even if the water looks calm there can be powerful currents and tides which pose a risk, even to people who are strong swimmers.

“Lakes, ponds and rivers also have hidden underwater obstructions so our advice would be to always be aware of the risks and take notice of local signage.

“The water can be particularly cold, even on hot days, and this can have dramatic effects on the body that could lead to drowning.

“We would also like to remind people of the danger of the sea, and in particular we want to remind visitors to this area who are perhaps not used to the conditions and are unaware of the strength of the waves and the inherent dangers of the sea.

“People should always be careful around water and if the sea looks rough we would advise them to be particularly cautious and keep their distance.

“Some of the region’s beaches are staffed by Royal National Lifeboat Institute Lifeguards this summer with safe bathing areas clearly marked with flags on the beach.

We would encourage people to visit these beaches and to only enter the water between these flags where it is safe to do so while lifeguards are on duty.

“We want people to enjoy water based activities safely this summer and not end up being injured.”

Tony Wafer, RNLI Coastal Safety Manager, said: “Water around the UK can be particularly cold, even on hot days.

“Entering cold water can have dramatic effects on the body and could lead to drowning, so always enter the water slowly to acclimatise.

“We would always advise people visiting the coast to go to a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags, which is the area most closely monitored by the RNLI lifeguards.

“Additionally, always pay attention to tide times and local signage will indicate if there are any hazards in and around the water. If you do see somebody in trouble in the water, don’t follow them in the water but alert a lifeguard or call 999.”

Mike Puplett, Watch Manager for Humber Coastguard, said: “A false alarm is much better than a casualty.

“If members of the public are in any doubt at all about conditions at the seaside or around the coast, or if they are concerned for their own safety or that of others, please don’t hesitate to dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard. Our stations operate around-the-clock, seven days a week.”