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Cool off in safety during the holidays

The school holidays are here and, fingers crossed, the best of the summer may still be ahead of us.

Open water will have warmed up (a bit) and some have already been tempted to jump into South Forty Foot near the Black Sluice Cafe. But be warned that many dangers lurk beneath.

The same applies to any potential outdoor swimming spot. Wild swimming has become more popular but those tempted need to take a few safety consideration on board before jumping in.

Peter Hunn, Boston Borough Council's Community Safety Manager, said: "I don't want to be a killjoy, but every year people die in open water because they have gone in unprepared for the dangers they face. There are a host of hidden dangers which could end in tragedy. If it's hot and you want to cool off, go to a swimming pool where it's safe."

You may not be the strong swimmer you think you are. There is a big difference between the confident swim you can enjoy in a heated swimming pool and the cold which can shock, even when there has been a heatwave, in our rivers, drains, ponds, lakes and open water. The effects of immersion in cold water can overcome even the fittest and strongest of swimmers.

Cold water quickly saps stamina and strength and if a swimmer is a long way out from the bank they can quickly be in serious difficulty. Drowning is the third most common cause of accidental death among the under-16s.

Objects under the water which may be unseen from the riverbank can entrap or injure swimmers.

Boats regularly manoeuvre in the Grand Sluice and Anton's Gowt area. There is a real danger of becoming entangled in propellers or even being caught in the wash of a boat and dragged under by the displacement of the water created by the boats' movement.

One of the biggest problems in this area is presented by the lock gates, a regular place where children and adults swim in Boston. The gates operate on an automated system. No warning is given prior to the gates operating. Anyone swimming in this area when this process is commencing will be drawn through the gates and washed down river.

Swimming is also prohibited in these area and those caught may be liable to a £100 fine.

You may also be trespassing in your attempts to reach the water, you may damage property and if a group gathers and things get out of hand there could be anti-social behaviour issues. At worst you may put yourself at risk and those at risk who may attempt to help you should you get into difficulties. Other health hazards include ecoli, Weils Disease and even asthma and eczema.

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