Don’t take risks around rivers and lochs

Scottish Water has issued winter safety advice for visitors to rivers, reservoirs and lochs.
Scottish Water has issued winter safety advice for visitors to rivers, reservoirs and lochs.

Scottish Water is urging people not to take risks around freezing cold rivers, reservoirs and lochs, and any watercourses covered in ice.

The public is also being warned about the hidden dangers in reservoirs.

Reservoirs are man-made features which, because of their purpose, have unique dangers such as dams, spillways (overflows) and hidden water intakes (underwater pipework that takes water out of the reservoir).

Peter Farrer, Scottish Water’s chief operating officer, said: “As the majority of reservoirs are remote, there is a lack of immediate assistance because the emergency services often can’t get to the area quickly.

“Natural hazards can also lurk beneath the surface, where children and adults can get entangled in vegetation or stuck in mud.

“Water safety is a priority and we are urging people to stay safe this winter around reservoirs and any other bodies of water.”

Scottish Water’s safety message is being supported by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), Police Scotland and the Scotttish SPCA.

Carlene McAvoy, community safety development officer for RoSPA Scotland, said: “In 2018, there were unfortunately 46 accidental deaths in Scotland due to drowning or submersion.

“While we really want everybody to get out and enjoy Scotland’s beautiful waterways throughout the year, we urge them to do so safely.”

Chief Superintendent David Duncan, of Police Scotland, added: “We know that about a quarter of adult drowning victims have been drinking alcohol, which seriously reduces your ability to survive.

“Please look out for yourself and your friends when you’re enjoying a winter night out, and make sure everyone gets home safely.”

One of the biggest concerns with dog owners is when their pet experiences difficulties after diving in to water, chasing a ball or stick.

The pet more often survives such incidents, but the owners, who have attempted to save them, may not.

Scottish SPCA Chief Superintendent Mike Flynn said: “We would always advise people to keep their dogs on leads around waterways to avoid any harm.

“Dogs off the lead are not only a danger to wildlife but are at risk of falling through ice.

“If your pet has fallen through ice then you should call the fire and rescue service and wait for assistance.

“Never go out on to the ice after an animal.

“While the ice may be able to hold the weight of a dog, it’s unlikely to hold the weight of a human.”