Stay safe in our Parks this summer

Caldecotte Lake North Walton Park banner.jpg
21 May 2019

As inviting as they might seem on a hot sunny day, our lakes and rivers are not suitable for swimming, so please stay out!

We understand that a dip in the lake or a paddle in the river might seem appealing when the weather is warm but the waters in and around our parks are not safe, even if you are a good swimmer.

Sadly over 100 people die nationwide each year in inland water. In Milton Keynes we look after over 6,000 acres of parkland many of which include lakes and rivers, and we want everyone to be able to enjoy these beautiful places safely over the summer months.

On the surface the rivers and lakes may look inviting but its what’s underneath that can be hazardous. With the rise and fall of the water levels throughout the year you might not always be able to see what’s lurking beneath. Hidden hazards and underwater structures such as weirs can’t always be seen from above, jumping into the river or lake could cause serious injury.

Our water bodies also provide a source of water for animals and wildlife that call Milton Keynes home, this can sometimes mean that the water is polluted, making a risk of disease and infections.

Even if we’ve had a few hot days the waters within our lakes and rivers still stay very cold and swimmers could suffer cold shock or hypothermia.

It's also important to be aware that we don't own or look after the weir structures across Milton Keynes which means we have no control over when gates may be raised or lowered. These are influenced by rainfall/water bodies out of our catchment area, which means it could be lovely weather here but severe thunderstorms elsewhere may affect the amount of water that needs to be let through.

The only safe place to swim is in a swimming pool, where the water is kept clean, clear and warm and where lifeguards are on hand in case of emergencies.

Should you end up in the water unexpectedly, float to survive. Fight your instinct to swim until the cold-water shock passes, usually around 60- 90 seconds. Lean back, extend your arms and legs and if you need to, gently move them around to help you float. Float until you can control your breathing. Only then call for help or swim to safety.

If you come across someone who is in trouble call 999, do not attempt to enter the water yourself, even if somebody needs help. To report someone swimming in the water but not in trouble, call Thames Valley Police on their non-emergency number 101.

View our Water Safety postcard - front and second page.