With warmer weather predicted for this weekend the Royal Life Saving Society is urging people to stay safe and follow precautions near water.
Porcha Treanor, from the charity. said: “Warm weather leads people to spend time in and around water but if not done safely it can end in tragedy.
Around 400 people drown in the UK each year, the equivalent of one every 20 hours. When the weather warms up more people enjoy the water and drownings in open water sadly peak.
“Diving or jumping into water with low temperature can cause the body to have a cold shock response, resulting in a number of involuntary physiological responses including difficulty in moving limbs, making swimming or staying on the surface difficult, and a sudden gasp which can mean water is breathed in instead of air.
“And it is important to remember to be safe around the home as people spend more time in the garden and dig out paddling pools for children.
RLSS UK’s acting director of volunteers and community education, Mike Dunn, said: “With the predicted nice weather we want people to go out and enjoy the water safely and we advise people to swim at open water sites where there are lifeguards to help keep swimmers safe.
“Make the most of the weather but listen to advice and do so responsibly, don’t let a weekend of fun become a tragedy.”
The Society has issued water safety tips and advice which include being aware of your surroundings and taking notice of any warning signs when out and about.
When running or walking next to open water, stay well clear of bank edges. They are often unstable and this can create slips, trips and falls.
Do not enter fast flowing water and aware of underwater hazards. Get out of the water as soon as you start to feel cold
Always let someone know where you’re going - take your mobile phone.
Never leave a child unsupervised around water. Empty paddling pools, buckets, watering cans and other containers as soon as they have been used. Always turn them upside down once empty.
For more water safety advice or details on lifesaving courses suitable for children and adults - visit the website at www.rlss.org.uk.