As the warm weather continues, and with a long, hot summer in prospect, a seasonal warning has been issued about the dangers of diving, jumping or swimming in any of the area’s rivers, drains and open water.
Blue skies and rising temperatures generate a great temptation for some to cool off with an impromptu wild water swim. But the inviting waters can have hidden hazards. Already, during this hot spell, some people have drowned in rivers, including a 12-year-old girl in Bury, Greater Manchester, and a man overcome by strong sea currents near Torbay.
Peter Hunn, Boston Borough Council’s community safety manager, said the hazards of swimming in open or wild water are the same wherever you are and sounded an alert for the run-up to the school summer holidays.
He said: “If it’s hot and you want to cool off, go to the swimming pool where it’s safe.
“Rivers, drains, ponds, lakes, and open water seldom get warm in this country, even during a British summer heat wave.
“The effects of immersion in cold water can overcome even the fittest and strongest of swimmers, so resist the temptation to go in, no matter how hot you are or how temptingly cooling the water looks.”
It is easy to misjudge your swimming ability in cold open water. Cold water quickly saps stamina and strength and if a swimmer is a long way out from the bank they can quickly be in serious difficulty, he added.
Drowning is the third most common cause of accidental death among the under-16s.
Objects under the water which may be unseen from the riverbank can entrap or injure swimmers.
Peter said: “Boats regularly manoeuvre in the Grand Sluice and Anton’s Gowt area. There is a real danger of becoming entangled in propellers or even being caught in the wash of a boat and dragged under by the displacement of the water created by the boats’ movement.
“One of the biggest problems in this area is presented by the lock gates, a regular place where children and adults swim in Boston. The gates operate on an automated system. No warning is given prior to the gates operating. Anyone swimming in this area when this process is commencing will be drawn through the gates and washed down river.”
There are also health risks from rat urine in the water – Weil’s disease, which claimed the life of Olympic rower Andy Holes after an event on Boston’s River Witham in 2010 – and from swimming in water which cattle may use.
There are plenty of swimming activities on at Geoff Moulder Leisure Complex over the Summer holiday, take a look at https://www.mybostonuk.com/gmlc/lessons/