With the summer holidays starting soon, Northumbria Police is reminding people to stay safe around open water.
Every year, the force receives an increased amount of calls about incidents as a result of the onset of warm weather – such as people being in danger of drowning – and officers are warning that they can prove fatal.
People are reminded that open water can be deceptive, particularly in rivers. Even if it looks calm, powerful currents and tides can pose significant risks.
Superintendent Scott Hall, from the Force Resilience Unit, said: “With the summer holidays upon us, we are reminding people to stay safe ar-ound the water and enjoy the hot weather without incident.
“Open water can often prove treacherous and there is no real way of knowing the depth of the water or the strength of the current.
“The water can be particularly cold, even on hot days, and this can have dramatic effects on the body that could lead to drowning.
“People under the influence of alcohol will also have their judgement and physical abilities impaired and they could easily get into difficulties, resulting in tragic consequences.
“The public should be cautious in unfamiliar stretches of water and encourage their friends to do the same. I’d also ask parents to remind their children of the dangers of open water.”
Anyone who sees anyone in trouble in the water should dial 999 immediately.
Northumbria Police is also supporting the RNLI’s Respect the Water campaign, which is aimed at increasing awareness of the dangers posed in coastline areas such as when people scramble across slippy rocks or wade through water with strong undercurrents.