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Guys, 

The recent weather we have enjoyed has inevitably drawn many of us to the water, in particular local lochs/rivers/reservoirs/beach's. If you are so drawn, or know anyone who may be, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE promote water safety. Be aware of sudden drops in the bottom, and any other hazards that may lurk. Remember that even if the water at the top feels warm, this is only the top level, lower down will be shockingly cold. And do not be tempted into swimming after enjoying some cold fresh tipples, this is a recipe for disaster.

Sorry if I am preaching to the choir, however I have in the last 24 hours had to recover multiple victims from my local puddle. Yesterday the news covered the fact that 24 people have drowned in the last week, this number is to the best of my knowledge now over 30!! Having been involved in a significant portion of those, I am going to preach.

I am not saying don't swim, but please be prepared, if you plan to go beyond the immediate shore line (paddling depth) consider a wetsuit, and research the area you are going into to try and ascertain if there are any sudden changes in level. Be safe guys!

Phil

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Big big issue here. Germans are always beating costs down. Many  children do not learn to swim at school. No money for renovating public swimming pools and not enough time, teacher, budget, …..

Big big issue with the migrants that came over to Germany the Last years. They cannot swim. 
 

Thus increasing number of drowned people.

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I consider myself a reasonably good swimmer, swim four or five miles a week at local pools. Love swimming in the sea on the rare occassion.

A couple of years ago, coming to the end of a mile in the pool, breathing heavy trying to better my time, when a kid suddenly cut across my lane. As I took an involuntary breath I sucked in a bow wave created by the youth darting across. I felt the water sucking in, but I had no control. I went to breath out and I couldn't. It was like a cork stuck in my wind pipe. I couldn't breath in or out. I swam across a couple of lanes on my remains breath and pulled my self out on all fours on the pool side trying to force some air out so I cold try and take a breath. I was making all sorts of rasping noises, using all my energy and effort to try and breath.

By this time pool alarms were howling, the pool was cleared and a couple of life guards, and members of the public came to try and help. Slowly with great relief I forced out and coughed up the water,  and was able to take a breath.

You hear of strong swimmers drowning and now I understand how easily it can happen. If I had been in the middle of a lake or in the sea I would have drowned. 

Being able to get on all fours on the pool side, with the help of gravity I was able to clear my wind pipe. If I had been verticle, treading water there was no way I could have done it. 

 

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Jumping into cold water can induce an involuntary inhalation of.... water. Wales has many deep, cold reservoirs and lakes with warning notices, but such drownings recur each hot summer. Peter

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All the above emphasise a need!   But we are not alone.   Bangladesh is a low-lying  country with many waterways and a large community who fish for a living.  Yet drowning deaths were so high as to described as an epidemic, twenty years ago.   https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5451939/

The "Anchal" programme has been a success in reducing those deaths: https://blogs.bmj.com/injury-prevention/2021/03/04/lessons-from-a-child-drowning-reduction-program-in-bangladesh/

When we have schools and swimming pools, a similar programme here could save lives too!

John

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58 minutes ago, JohnD said:

When we have schools and swimming pools, a similar programme here could save lives too!

We were discussing this very topic this morning during our debrief/police interviews, we would love to see lifesaving and water safety added to the basic school curriculum. Martin also hit the spot, many cultures simply don't teach swimming abilities, and this has been a major factor in several fatalities over the years up here. They get out of depth, go down and then hit cold water shock which causes them to take the fatal breath.

I can't say too much in public obviously, although both incidents have been covered by the media now. Suffice to say, it has been an incredibly difficult time for all our crew involved, and the other emergency services also involved.

We have four confirmed deceased within just over 24 hours, and that may yet go up.

The other major issue with water incidents is something called secondary drowning, where inhaled water in the lungs later causes irritation, and can lead to death. Worth looking out for (and doesn't have to be swimming caused, any water inhalation can cause it).

I am keeping my fingers crossed there are no more incidents, it has not a nice two days.

 

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Presumably you are with the Loch Lomond rescue boat Phil?

Clearly has been a very grim weekend…. As you say, four confirmed, one still in danger…. Plus another river drowning near Stonehouse…… :ohmy:

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Yeah, that's the one Nick. There is actually two in danger, though one may well pull through, we haven't been informed further yet.

Currently trying to dry out kit, it appears that my drysuit is not quite as dry as it should be. Thankfully the weather being warm does help with such matters.

IMG_20210725_160728.thumb.jpg.2e757096180126e9e6e07e75395068aa.jpg

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Massive respect to you for doing that Phil, sincerely sorry to hear of the difficult few days. Very sobering stuff. 

I grew up on the east coast and every summer there were holidaymakers drowned after being swept out to sea on inflatable lie-low type things. As a result I've always been a bit of a kill-joy on seaside holidays. Guilty of being a bit blasé about inland waterways perhaps, but not anymore. 

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