YOUNGSTERS who are needlessly endangering their lives by entering dangerous bodies of water to cool off have been told to think twice - after the firm responsible for the town’s reservoirs revealed ‘weekly’ instances of people being spotted swimming.
Yorkshire Water revealed six drowning deaths have occurred at its local reservoirs in the last three summers - which include Ingbirchworth, Langsett, Scout Dike and Winscar - as the South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue-backed water safety campaign returned ahead of the summer months.
According to a report into the local incidents, 87 per cent of incidents involved males, and those who have been spotted getting into the water have been urged to not underestimate the risks involved.
Cold water shock, hidden undercurrents and operating machinery are present at reservoirs, leaders behind the campaign - called Be Water Aware - said.
Alastair Harvey, from Yorkshire Water, added: “Tragically we’ve already seen the dangers of open water in our region this year - with the weather set to improve we’re expecting to see a rise in people entering our reservoirs, whether that be those intending to swim or people deciding the water looks inviting.
“We are once again backing the campaign to raise awareness of the dangers open water poses.
“It is vital those visiting our sites stay out of the water, no matter how tempting it may appear.
“We have a number of beautiful recreation sites across the region but it is vital those visiting stay out of the water, no matter how tempting it may appear.
“If people see others in difficulty in the water, they should contact the emergency services on 999 as they are trained to deal with such events.”
Barnsley schools are participating in water safety talks, which have resulted in fire safety officers delivering advice to kids in key stages one to four.
Aligned to Swim England’s water safety advice, the events inform children how to keep themselves and their friends safe near open water and explain the hidden dangers in reservoirs, rivers and canals ahead of the summer holidays.
Matt Gillatt, community safety office at South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, told the Chronicle: “Our message is simple and it won’t change: people should stay out of the water as it’s vitally important to do so.
“The weather’s looking nice again this weekend - as it has been recently over the bank holidays - and with that comes the temptation for youngsters to cool off.
“The difference between the air temperature and the water temperature will literally take your breath away and dramatically reduce your ability to self-rescue.
“Water is almost always colder than it looks and bodies can temporarily shut down from cold water shock which can stop even strong swimmers.
“Secondly, you don’t know what’s under the surface - currents are strong and reservoirs in particular have under-water machinery.
“It’s just not worth the risk and we’re urging people to stay out and stay safe.”