Don't be fooled by calm water on a clear day; many seemingly tranquil waterways can present dangerous hazards. Did you know that most drowning deaths occur in natural water environments - river, lakes and dams?
Currents, even in seemingly tranquil waterways can prove dangerous. Inland waterways are not patrolled by lifeguards, and should someone get into trouble, there may be no one to assist them. Swimmers can also get panicked if they get caught in submerged objects, which are present in many of these waterways.
You can take precautions if you want to swim in an inland waterway. Remember that water conditions which may have been suitable one day can change hourly with the current. Submerged objects, like branches or rocks, are often invisible from above the surface and present real risk of neck and spinal injuries, especially to divers. Always enter the water slowly, feet first - never dive in. Be aware also that cold water can cause hypothermia and take your breath away.
Inland Waterways Safety Checklist
Always enter the water slowly feet first, never dive in.
Banks - a crumbling riverbank can mean an accidental fall into the water riverbeds.
Riverbed may be uneven, unstable or slippery underwater obstacles - beware of submerged items under the surface of the water - rocks, branches, and rubbish can all cause injury.
Currents are unpredictable - don't expect them to follow the contour of the river.
Water can be a lot colder than it appears so beware of hypothermia - a drop in the body's internal temperature puts your vital organs in danger.
Don't cross flooded inland waterways.
Strong currents are often present where rivers enter lakes or dams.
Be aware that heavy rainfall alters water levels.