As Google becomes more powerful and an ever-growing volume of information is
being published on the Internet, an increasing number of web pages which reveal attitudes to open water swimming outside the
UK are becoming readily available.
There is now little doubt that the attitude of some UK organisation towards swimming in natural water, inland water in
particular, is not only unique - it looks increasingly irrational and obsessive.
Take, for example the following extract from the official website of the Yosemite National Park in the States:
'Nothing says "Summer" like taking a nice cool dip on a hot, dusty day! When it comes to swimming, Yosemite has options.
We have swimming pools and a swimming tank, and rivers with some excellent swimming holes. They are in Yosemite Valley,
at Wawona, in the Tuolumne Meadows and the High Camp areas and along many sections of 770 miles of rivers and hundreds
of lakes. What is your favorite place to swim in Yosemite?
The Merced River at the eastern end of Yosemite Valley offers many delightful swimming holes and sandy beaches for summer
sunning and swimming -- in mid to late summer. Tuolumne Meadows and the High Camps also have some great swimming areas in
more secluded spots.
Swimming in our rivers and lakes is at your own risk, there are no life guards on duty. Please exercise caution and care
and keep a close eye on children. Floatation devices are strongly recommended, especially for children.
Most of our river system is supported by snow melt, even in the heat of summer. Be careful as the water temperature can
be chilly and the current deceptively swift. Swimming above or near waterfalls or rapids is dangerous, so for your safety,
it is not allowed.
With a little common sense and precaution, you can enjoy this outdoor activity safely and with as little impact as
[From the Yosemite National Park Nationa, California, website
for more examples - including down to earth water safety advice issued by the Connectcut Department of Environmental
|And compare it with the following extract from the
website of the UK National Water Safety Forum - an organisation set up, and financed
by the Government:
'Even during the warmer summer months in the UK inland waters remain cold. However as the air temperature rises people are
increasingly likely to jump or dive into lakes and rivers to cool off. Research has shown that many will be able to swim,
the majority of them will be male and alcohol and/or peer pressure may feature in their decision to plunge in. As a result
of sudden immersion in cold water, hidden currents and submerged hazards like refuse and vegetation, many will get into
difficulties and be unable to save themselves.
For these reasons the Forum says
DO NOT SWIM AT UNSUPERVISED INLAND WATER SITES.
Under by-law British Waterways
has banned swimming in all its canals and, along with the Environment Agency, discourages swimming in its rivers.....
do not use docks, reservoirs, lakes, rivers, canals or other similar water-bodies to swim in, visit your local swimming
pool or life-guarded beach instead.'
[From the National Water Safety Forum (NWSF) website
|WE THINK JOHNNY DESERVES BETTER THAN THAT
to discover the truth about inland water temperatures and other dangers.