South Shropshire MP Philip Dunne is highlighting the potential hazards associated with open water so that water-based activities can be enjoyed safely, as part of Drowning Prevention Week.
The campaign, which is run by Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS), is supported by a wide range of organisations including the RNLI, RoSPA, the emergency services and industries such as the water utilities and quarrying.
During the recent hot weather, lakes at former quarries and reservoirs are the type of areas that have experienced this sudden growth in visitors, including Shadwell Quarry near Much Wenlock which does not have legitimate public access. Areas such as this are full of dangerous hidden hazards, including very deep and cold water, sudden changes in depth, underwater pumps and currents, concealed obstacles and vegetation beneath the water and in some cases, pollution or high alkalinity.
Sadly, every year members of the public, particularly young men, drown in quarry lakes whilst engaging in what they perceive as harmless fun.
Mr Dunne said: “Drowning is responsible for more deaths each year than fires, but unfortunately warm weather can induce people to ignore the very real hazards that are potentially found in open water. This is particularly true of places like Shadwell Quarry near Much Wenlock, where there are repeated trespassers looking to swim, despite clear dangers – as evidenced by a young man hospitalised after swimming at the site last month.
So I urge the public to think carefully about the dangers, stay safe, and follow advice which can apply at a beach, river, canal, lake, river or waterfilled void at a former quarry.”
More information can be found at www.rlss.org.uk/drowning-prevention-week.