Police Scotland Information Water Safety

Last month we were highlighting the need to be vigilant to scammers either on the phone or playing their trade at your door. There is still the need to remind people to be ever vigilant and if in doubt do not continue the call or keep speaking to the person.


As we are coming into the warmer months it is the time of year when we advise people about water safety. When it has been a particular warm day it can be tempting to jump in to the water to cool off but there are a few points to remember.

Do not go out alone – If you are going swimming or surfing do not go out alone. It is better to be with a friend and to go out in daylight hours so that if you do get in trouble there is a greater chance that someone will notice. Lakes and reservoirs can look enticing on a hot day but your body can go into cold water shock making you gasp so you inhale water or you can
get cramp that will prevent you from swimming.

Float – If you find yourself getting “sucked” under by the current and you cannot get closed to shore then instead of using your energy to keep fighting, try to float. It may take some time but with little kicks of the legs you have a greater chance of getting back to shore. If you cannot get back to shore then floating will increase your chances of staying alive until help can arrive

Buoyancy Aid – If you are going out in a boat or canoe then you should always wear a buoyancy aid so that if you capsize you will stay afloat. In addition, the water can be very cold and the shock that you can feel may make you panic. A buoyancy aid will give you time to calm down and stay afloat. If you have no flotation device then float. Floating lets us gain control of our breathing which steadies our heart rates. Coldwater shock takes up to 90 seconds to disappear. Fishermen don’t often wear buoyancy aids. If you are standing in waders in a river you should wear one. The Spey, as an example, is a fast-flowing river and if you fall over there is
a high chance you will be swept down the river. The weight of you waders filling up or even your clothing will weigh you down and you will not be able to swim. In the time that I have worked here, I have not known a fishing bothy to have a boat with an outboard motor on standby, therefore, you will be at the mercy of the river so better to be prepared – even if you
do not think you look as fetching wearing a buoyancy aid it may keep you alive.

Waterfalls – Don’t swim under waterfalls or jump into them. The power of the water varies with the flow rate and as it increases it gets heavier and can trap a swimmer against rocks or obstruction. Due to the number of bubbles, you lose your natural buoyancy so you do not float to the top as if you fell in flat water. Be water aware and safe in the summer months – share your knowledge, give advice and look after one another.

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