Swimmers need to take sensible precautions when taking to the water, Lake District bosses said

Swimmers need to take sensible precautions when taking to the water, Lake District bosses said

National park bosses are urging outdoor fans to stay safe when splashing out in the area’s lakes, rivers and tarns.

Lake District rangers said open-water swimming is a great way to enjoy the scenery and keep fit in summer, but a few commonsense safeguards are necessary.

Ranger leader Steve Tatlock said: “This is a fast growing pursuit as we are ideally placed with some of the most spectacular lakes and tarns in the country.

“We actively support and promote open-water swimming. It’s a fantastic way to enjoy the warm weather, scenery and be active into the bargain.

“Just a few easy tips will help swimmers avoid some of the potential pitfalls. The most important thing is not to jump into water, which can shelve steeply. Walk slowly in to help the body adjust to chilly temperatures.

“Even if the top surface is warm, you quickly get down to extremely cold and possibly dangerous icy cold conditions. This ‘thermocline barrier’ is particularly risky when people are hot.”

He said it was like plunging into a bath of ice, and the body could momentarily close down, making muscle movement and breathing difficult and that was when panic could set in.

He added: “Swimming is a fantastic way to have a great time. We would just say keep to the shoreline, don’t go out alone and ideally have some sort of safety support: a visible tow float, canoe or small boat with a white and blue Alpha flag.

“Wearing a brightly coloured hat is a good idea, particularly on the busier lakes, and people should never swim after food or alcohol.”

Water quality can be checked via the UK Government website.

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