Skip to main content

We use cookies to ensure that you get the best experience whilst browsing our website. By continuing to use the Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service website, you agree to our use of cookies. You can change your cookie settings in your browser at any time.

Link to Search

Open water

To keep yourself safe, when you are in, on or beside water, always follow the Water Safety Code.

The facts for 2018

  • 154 people died from Inland drowning (e.g. lakes, reservoirs, rivers etc)
  • Drowning is a male dominated issue, with a ratio of seven males to one female losing their lives to drowning
  • Drownings of individuals with alcohol or drugs in their system was 92.
  • The most startling fact is that the largest ‘grouping’ of people losing their lives in 2018 was once again, those people who had no intention of going into the water and were walking or running close to water (93 people).

(source rlss.org.uk)

Water safety code

During the school holidays, and in particular in hot weather, increasing numbers of children put themselves at risk of drowning. On average 40-50 children drown per year in the UK.

To keep yourself safe, when you are in, on or beside water, always follow the Water Safety Code.

Spot the dangers


Water may look safe, but it can be dangerous. Learn to spot and keep away from dangers. You may swim well in a warm indoor pool, but that does not mean that you will be able to swim in cold water.

The dangers of water include:

  • Very cold temperatures
  • Hidden Currents
  • Fast flowing water, beware of locks and weirs
  • Deep water, it can be difficult to estimate the depth
  • There may be hidden rubbish or debris under the surface that can trap, snag or cut
  • It can be difficult to get out, banks can be steep, slimy and crumble away
  • No lifeguards, most outdoors waterways do not have lifeguards
  • Water pollution may make you ill

Take safety advice


Where possible you should swim at a swimming pool or beach where a lifeguard is present. When this is not possible look out for special flags, on beaches, and notices, on inland waterways, which will tell you what to do. You can find a guide to Water Safety Flags (used on beaches) and Water Safety Signs (other waterways) below.

  1. Go Together
    Never go swimming, fishing or boating alone.
    Children should always go with an adult, not by themselves. An adult can point out dangers or help if somebody gets into trouble.
  2. Learn How To Help
    If you see someone in difficulty, tell somebody:
  • A lifeguard if there is one nearby
  • Go to the nearest telephone and dial 999. If you are at the beach ask for the coastguard, otherwise ask for the Police.

Never jump into the water yourself

Some material has been kindly provided by RoSPA the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents.

Water safety flags

Look out for the following flags at the seaside. They will let you know when it is safe to enter the water and if a lifeguard will be around to help you.

Red and yellow flag

Red and yellow flags mean Lifeguards are on patrol. You should only swim or boogie board in the area between the flags.

Red flag

The red flag means it is dangerous to bathe or swim and you should not go into the water.

Black and white flag

The quartered black and white flag indicates the area zoned for surf craft and Malibu boards. It is not safe for swimmers and bathers.

Water safety signs

There are three main types of water safety sign; prohibitionhazard, and mandatory signs. There are also information and safety equipment signs.

Each has its own meaning but they all use the same system to convey their message. Examples of each type of sign appear below.

beware deep water

Hazards

Signs that warn you of danger are always:

  • Trangle Shaped
  • A yellow background, with black symbols and border
  • Placed to help you spot a hazard that is not always obvious

They mean that you should be aware of something.

The example sign here tells you to beware of deep water.

no diving

Prohibition

Signs that mean you should not do something, are always:

  • A red ring shape, with a line running through
  • White background, red line and black symbols or shapes
  • They inform you of things you are not supposed to do

These signs tell you that it would be dangerous to do something, or go in that place.

The example sign here tells you not to dive.

lifejackets must be worn

Mandatory

Signs that mean you should do something, are always:

  • Blue and circle shaped
  • Have white symbols or shapes
  • They inform you of things you need to do

These signs tell you that you should do something to be safe.

The example sign here tells you that lifejackets must be worn.

swimming area

Information

Information signs, always have:

  • A white background
  • Black symbols or text

These signs help you either find something, or get somewhere.

The example sign here tells you this is a swimming area.

lifejacket located here

Equipment location

Safe condition signs, always have:

  • A green background
  • White symbols or text

These signs tell you where important safety items are such as the first aid place, or the emergency telephone.

The example sign tells you that a lifejacket is located here.

You can download the full list of water safety signs which is provided by RoSPA (The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents).

National Water Safety Signs (pdf 252.32 KB)