More than 750 people caught swimming at Yorkshire reservoirs in just one week despite tragedies

Yorkshire Water is urging people not to swim at its reservoirs after 762 people were caught doing so in the space of just a week despite several tragedies this month in open water.

Friday, 23rd July 2021, 7:47 am
Yorkshire Water says more than 750 people have been caught swimming in just 14 of its 130 reservoirs in the past week despite several highly-publicised tragedies

The incidents of people swimming or attempting to swim took place at just 14 of the utility firm’s 130 reservoirs between July 11 and 18.

It comes after several recent and highly publicized tragedies. They include a man in his 20s who drowned in Sheffield’s Crookes Valley Park lake only last weekend on July 18, as well as 16-year-old Sam Haycock who died in Ulley Reservoir in May despite the best efforts of his friends to rescue him.

The caution by Yorkshire Water comes alongside continued warnings by emergency services across the county about the dangers of people swimming in open water.

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Gaynor Craigie, head of land and property at Yorkshire Water, said: “The last week has tragically seen four people lose their lives in open water in our region, following on from a further four fatalities earlier in the year.

“Our sites have seen a dramatic increase in people swimming, particularly during the recent warm weather, with our teams speaking to almost 800 people intending to swim at just a handful of our sites, including young unaccompanied children. We know the true number of people entering reservoirs across the region will be much greater and we would urge people not to take risks by getting into the water for any reason.

“There are several risks associated with open water at reservoirs, which are often underestimated, and pose a potential risk to life. These include cold water shock, unseen objects, the hazards of operational machinery and the underwater currents they cause. We would urge people not to underestimate these dangers and to speak to their children about the risks of entering open water.”

The hobby of ‘wild swimming’ and swimming in lakes, reservoirs and rivers has become a hotly debated topic in recent months after seeing a huge increase since the pandemic.

Despite being defended as natural and the swimmers’ choice, emergency services have highlighted the dangers of swimming in unsupervised open water.