Swimmers safety warning: Think hats, flag, float and boat

Nigel Wilkinson, right, with Sara Spicer and Claire Maclaine of Go Lakes

Nigel Wilkinson, right, with Sara Spicer and Claire Maclaine of Go Lakes

First published in News

THOUSANDS of leaflets have been produced in an effort to reduce risk of injury to Lake District swimmers.

As the popularity of open water swimming booms, the new swim safe code spells out the ‘hat, flag, float and boat’ message for those taking a plunge.

Working with major event organisers, open water swim providers, commercial boat operators and Windermere Lake User Forum, the Lake District National Park Authority has produced 10,000 leaflets advising swimmers how to protect themselves from boat collisions and serious harm.

Lakes ranger Sara Spicer said it followed concerns that increasing numbers of swimmers in Windermere, Ullswater, Coniston Water and Derwentwater were at risk unless they followed simple but effective guidelines.

She said: “If this advice is heeded, the safer those in the water will be. We are also encouraging people to swim in the quieter lakes and avoid the four main navigable lakes, which have many different users.”

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GoLakes have also funded 500 bright yellow and pink hats.

Major event organisers will also be publicising the swim safe campaign.

“Solo swimmers are particularly hard to see,” added Sara. “It’s easy to forget that boats, particularly larger vessels, take time to change their course or stop if they need to avoid someone in the water.

“It is also important to remind boat users that there may be swimmers in the water who may be difficult to see.”

Nigel Wilkinson, managing director of Windermere Lake Cruises, said: “We are genuinely concerned about the consequences of a collision on Windermere and the swim safe code is an excellent initiative to help mitigate that risk.”

Visit www.swimsafe lakes.co.uk.

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