West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service is urging people to take care in water over the school holidays and stay safe.
The ongoing hot weather means plenty of families will be planning to go swimming in various locations across the countryside, but some areas can pose a risk.
Around 190 people lose their lives on UK and Irish coasts each year, and over half never even planned to enter the water, according to the RNLI.
Cold water shock is extremely prevalent despite heatwaves this summer and British seas and rivers are cold enough to leave you helpless in seconds.
Adrian Carter, West Sussex Fire & Rescue Group Manager said: “With the hot weather not going away anytime soon, it’s likely many people will be out enjoying the sunshine on the beach or at lakes, rivers and swimming pools around the county, but your priority must be to stay safe.
“It is often poor safety water practices out in the countryside that pose the most risk, and in some cases not following these can endanger lives.
“If you want to go swimming, make sure you go to a supervised site with lifeguards on duty, look for signs and advice about the specific dangers at the place where you are, and be mindful of currents. If you get caught by a current, swim with it and call for help.”
Swimming in appropriate locations is still good exercise, but the fire service also has a number of safety tips for in the water.
• Always look for warning and guidance signs
• Swim parallel with the shore, not away from it
• Never go into the water after consuming alcohol
• Do not enter fast flowing water
• Be aware of underwater hazards
• Always take someone with you when going into or being near water
• If you start to feel cold, get out as quickly as possible
• Be mindful of currents – if in trouble, swim with the current and shout for help
• Be aware of your own strength and get out if you start to feel tired
West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service is at the heart of West Sussex County Council’s Communities and Public Protection Directorate, working to support communities to become safer, stronger and more resilient through a combination of prevention, protection and response activities.