Inland Waterways

In order to get the most fun at waterways, it is important that you follow some simple safety guidelines. Follow the SAFE message- Stay Away From the Edge!


  • Rivers have swift currents and very deep areas. Tragedy can be avoided if you check it’s safe before you enter the water.
  • The best way is by asking an adult who know the area: a lifeguard, a shopkeeper, caravan park owner or someone who lives nearby. They are most likely to know the dangers and direct you to a safe spot.

River Safety Tips

  • Check where ring buoys are placed. See they are undamaged. Report anyone you see tampering with them. They could save a life. It might be yours.
  • Never wade into a river to get a ball back
  • Do not jump off bridges- even if you see friends do it
  • Never push a friend into the water “ for a laugh”
  • Be careful of slippery grass by the edge
  • Always keep your eyes open and pay attention to avoid tripping over things
  • Never swim in fast flowing water. If you feel that it is dangerous then do not swim, even if your friends say that it’s okay. Check first by throwing in a twig to see how fast the current is travelling. Remember that the current can be faster under the water and river currents are often stronger than they appear.
  • If you are caught in a current, float on your back and travel downstream feet first to protect your head.
  • Beware of submerged objects- they can be very dangerous. Keep watch for trees, branches, rocks and rubbish. Always enter the water feet first.
  • Do not play near the edge of overhanging riverbanks at the water’s edge. It can crumble away suddenly.


  • Canals are man made and have very steep sides
  • If you fall in it can be very difficult to climb out
  • Locks are dangerous places – the water is very deep
  • Keep away from the sides. Once you fall in it is almost impossible to get out
  • Ring buoys can often be found on the canal bank. If they are tampered with they will be of little use to a drowning person. Do not remove them unless you have to. They could save a life. It may be yours or your friend’s life.
  • Be careful not to go on ice-covered canals. If someone falls in remember to reach first with a rope or stick or piece of clothing
  • If you are hot and thirsty, never drink the water even if looks clean


  • These are deep and cold, with sudden changes in depth
  • Never go to a reservoir alone- you may fall in and have no assistance to get out
  • Never play near reservoirs

Gravel Pits

  • These are sometimes used as bird sanctuaries after closure
  • Do not enter if the water looks inviting- they are very cold and can be very deep. Weeds often grow thickly beneath the surface.
  • Gravel sliding down steep sides makes it very difficult to climb out
  • Even good swimmers have drowned in gravel pits


  • Be very careful walking along piers that you do not trip or be blown into the water
  • When fishing make sure that an adult is always with you
  • Never reach out after tangled fishing lines in case you fall into the water


  • Remember that even if ice is a foot thick in one area on a lake, it can be less than one inch thick just a few meters away
  • Do not walk on a frozen river or canal – use a bridge instead