At this time of year when temperatures are rising, it’s worth reminding people of the dangers of swimming in the lakes of the Cotswold Water Park. With children in school holidays, please make sure you know where yours are and what they’re doing. We frequently encounter young people (even as young as 11 or 12) unsupervised and in the water, with no concept of the risks. If you or your children are keen on outdoor swimming then please consider joining a formal open water swimming group who will have the required safety issues covered. Swimming in lakes without a formal arrangement is considered trespass, and subject to prosecution.
Aside from the possibility of cold water shock, many lakes in the CWP have thick weed and/or underwater hazards which can greatly increase the risk of drowning, even for strong swimmers. There is also a heightened risk of Weils Disease (from rat urine), potentially toxic blue-green algae, and ‘Swimmers’ Itch’ (cercarial dermatitis).
Just as significantly, the CWP is an internationally important haven for wildlife, most of which does not easily tolerate the disturbance caused by people jumping into the water. Water birds will abandon broods of young if disturbed, spawning fish will die from the stress, and human scents attract other predators.
Plenty of you will argue that you used to swim in the lakes when younger, and that nothing bad happened, but I’m sure that the families of those who tragically drown around the UK each year will see it differently. Please don’t take the risk.