Staying safe in and around Scotland's waters

Stop and Think, Spot the dangers

If you are thinking of being near or entering the water, have you considered the following?

  • Scotland’s Waters can be very cold even in the summer which can lead to Cold Water Shock, for more information visit our webpages
  • Keep off all frozen waters, they may not be able to handle the weight of a person
  • Check for any signage or flags which could warn you of potential dangers
  • Alcohol/drugs and coastal or inland waters don’t mix - they can reduce coordination and impair judgement and reaction times
  • The depth of the water may hide underwater ledges, hidden currents and unseen items
  • Be aware of other water activities that may pose a threat to you
  • If it is safe to enter the water, ensure you have a safe way out
  • If you are at the coast have you considered rip currents, offshore winds and the tide?

Stay Together, Stay close

  • It is better to go near the water with a friend or family member
  • Float – If you are in trouble in the water, float until you feel calm…then think what to do next
  • If you fall into water, fight your instinct to swim until cold water shock passes
  • Lean back, extend your arms and legs
  • If you need to, gently move them around to help you float
  • Float until you can control your breathing
  • Then call for help or swim to safety.

In an emergency

  • If you see someone in trouble, do not enter the water
  • Look for a throw line or life ring to help whilst you wait on the emergency services
  • Call 999 or 112