National Park Rangers have issued a stark water safety warning to people heading to Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park this holiday weekend.
With warm temperatures and sunshine forecast right across the Jubilee Weekend, areas around Loch Lomond in particular are set to be busy and the National Park Authority is urging visitors to keep themselves safe by knowing the risks, even if they aren’t planning to go into the water.
The Water Incident Database (WAID) figures from 2021 show that there were 58 accidental water-related fatalities in Scotland last year.
Leigh Hamilton, Ranger Service Manager at Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority, said: “On hot, sunny weekends we are particularly concerned about people who come to spend time near or around the water, maybe having a picnic or hanging out with friends on the loch shores, but not necessarily intending to go in the water.
“We know from experience that those people who aren’t coming to take part in a specific water activity like swimming or kayaking, are less likely to be aware of the quite specific risks that apply to our lochs.
“Going into a loch is very different to going into the sea, where the water gradually gets deeper. Lochs often get deep suddenly with steep drops close to the shore. Lochs are also very, very cold, even on a warm June weekend and cold water shock can be life threatening.
“We know loch shore locations will be busy this weekend so we are asking people to help us spread these important water safety messages as far and wide as possible.
“Tell your friends about the steep drops close to shore and the risk of cold water shock even for experienced swimmers. If you have teenagers heading out to the Park with friends make sure they know these risks and that if someone in their group gets into difficulty, they should call 999 and ask for the Police.”
A programme of enhanced water safety measures has been rolled out by the National Park Authority ahead of this summer, including:
The Park Authority is also working with local authorities, landowners and businesses to identify popular water sites they own or manage where safety signage and equipment can be improved. On the shores of Balloch Park and the River Leven area, 25 new Public Rescue Equipment stations and location signs have been installed.
National Park Rangers will also be carrying out daily patrols both on the ground and on the water, speaking to visitors to provide advice and enforcing byelaws on Loch Lomond, with support from Police Scotland where necessary.
Full water safety advice is available on Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority www.lochlomond-trossachs.org/watersafety and can be shared from the Park Authority’s social media channels – @lomondtrossachs.