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Water safety

There are public open spaces within the ownership of North Ayrshire Council that include areas of open water. Please read our Water Safety Policy (PDF, 292kb).

A risk assessment for each area of open water is complemented by an inspection regime of water safety signage and equipment.

Water safety signage and public rescue equipment, such as throw lines, are installed at select waterside locations. If you discover damaged signs or rescue equipment, please let us know.

Report damaged water safety signs or rescue equipment

Water Safety Advice - Staying Safe Around Water

The best advice is:

  1. Keep a safe distance from the water's edge.
  2. Respect the Water. Know the hazards. Identify the risks.
  3. If you see anyone in difficulties, phone 999, ask for:
  • the Coastguard at coastal locations
  • Fire & Rescue at Inland waters

‘Stop and think of the dangers’

Open water can present significant risks. These may vary in response to environmental changes, for example, swimming in water on a hot day or sliding or skating on ice in the winter.

It is not practical to deny access to all water nor is it necessary to erect barriers at all locations. In its risk assessment of open water North Ayrshire Council will take all ‘reasonable steps’ to protect people from danger.

Before you think about walking, playing, or swimming near or in the water please consider:

  • water may be cold even if the weather is warm - a rapid change in body temperature may cause thermal shock making it hard to breathe, control your movements, or swim
  • how deep the water might be - it may be shallow at the edges but quickly becomes much deeper
  • what is under the water or on the waterbed - sharp stones, broken glass and other objects could cause injuries
  • how you enter the water - don’t jump, especially from height - it is easy to misjudge distance and hit hidden obstacles
  • unseen currents, cold water and waves (even in rivers and lochs) make swimming much harder than in a swimming pool
  • if you find yourself in difficulty, try to relax and float until your body and breathing recover - then try to swim to the side
  • in summer, blue-green algal blooms can affect lochs and areas of still water - these can be harmful to humans and animals
  • keeping off icy surfaces - ice on water may be thin, patchy, and easily broken - it is rarely strong enough to support the weight of a pet or a person
  • dogs can get into difficulties in strong currents - keep them away from water when rivers are high - don't try to rescue them - they have a better chance of reaching safety

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