With warmer weather this week, fun seekers are being reminded to take care if they are thinking of taking a cooling dip – to avoid becoming another statistic.

Temperatures are expected to reach 25 or even 26 degrees centigrade by tomorrow (Wednesday 20 May), and people, particularly children, are being urged to put safety first when they are near open water.

Canals, ponds, pools, rivers, lakes and reservoirs can be extremely cold and take a long time to warm up, even on hot days. Swimmers entering the water can also get caught in reeds, dangerous undercurrents and uneven floors.   

And while open water swimming is still permitted during the coronavirus emergency, people must heed social distancing guidance when out of the house, and of the risk of heaping additional pressure on emergency services and the NHS if they were to get into difficulty when in the water.

Councillor Steve Evans, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for City Environment, said: "When it's warm and sunny, open water can seem inviting to young and old alike – and we appreciate that, with our leisure centres and swimming pools currently closed because of the coronavirus emergency, more people might be tempted to try swimming outdoors.

"However, going into cold water, particularly if there's no easy way to get out, can be very dangerous and statistics show that as many as 2 people a day die due to drowning in the UK during spells of warm weather. 

"In addition, people need to think very carefully about whether it's the right thing to be doing at this time. We all need to be following social distancing measures to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, and at the same time we must do everything we can to avoid putting any unnecessary pressure on our already overstretched emergency services by ensuring we stay safe."

The latest information and guidance around coronavirus is available at GOV.UK and on the council’s own coronavirus pages at Coronavirus advice and information. There’s lots of advice on how people can protect themselves and their families from coronavirus from the NHS.  

The council’s Stay Safe, Be Kind campaign offers clear and simple advice about how people can help themselves, and how they can support others who may be particularly vulnerable at this time. For more information, please visit Stay Safe Be Kind.