Warning to avoid frozen waterways as temperatures drop

Stay off the ice to save your life, that’s the message from Water Safety Scotland (WSS) ahead of the colder months.
​WSS’s advice is to completely avoid going on to frozen waterways.​WSS’s advice is to completely avoid going on to frozen waterways.
​WSS’s advice is to completely avoid going on to frozen waterways.

The message comes as temperatures in the region have plummeted in recent days, meaning some bodies of water like lochs have frozen over. While frozen waters can provide youngsters a tempting place to play, and walkers with a picturesque view, they can be deadly.

The warning comes after high profile tragedy in Birmingham in 2022 when four young boys died after walking on a lake and falling into icy waters.

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WSS has a wealth of free water safety resources on its website, which can be accessed by the public, schools and businesses. These include downloadable posters, leaflets and social media assets. Schools and colleges are encouraged to explore and use the ice-safety workshop, suitable for people of all ages.Carlene McAvoy, from WSS, said: “The great outdoors is beautiful in winter, but we want to ensure people enjoy it in a safe and informed way by knowing about the dangers of ice.

“Frozen water can be tempting to walk on, but there is just no way of knowing whether it will hold your weight or how deep the water is beneath.

“We urge people to keep themselves and their children away from frozen water, and if dog-walking, to always keep your pet on a lead. Tragically, many past incidents have involved attempted rescues of another person or dog in trouble on frozen water.”

WSS’s most important advice is to stay off the ice. You have no way of knowing how thick it is and how cold and deep the water beneath is. The water beneath could also be fast-flowing; keep a safe distance from the edge as allen leaves or snow could obscure the water’s true boundary; check for safety signage. This can help inform you of hazards in that area you may not be aware of.

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Always supervise children. Just a moment’s distraction could have serious consequences for a curious child. Keep dogs on leads and avoid throwing sticks and balls for dogs near ice.

If you do encounter someone who has fallen through ice, call 999 and request the assistance of the emergency services and remain calm and give clear, accurate information about the situation and location. Do not attempt to go out onto the ice yourself.

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