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Hungerhill School

Stay Safe, Stay Out - The Dangers of Quarry Lakes

With the summer holidays almost upon us, it is important that students are aware of the dangers of swimming in open water, such as quarry lakes and canals.

Sadly there are four hundred accidental drownings each year across the UK.

Quarry lakes and canals can be very cold even on a hot summer’s day and you could die from ‘Cold Water Shock’ in less than two minutes. ‘Cold Water Shock’ can cause you to gasp involuntarily and inhale water, very rapid increase in your breathing, and the onset of panic. This deadly combination can drown even strong swimmers within seconds of entering the water.

If you survive the cold shock, the drop in temperature can cause finger stiffness, reduced coordination, and general muscle weakness. This would make it difficult to swim/tread water and climb out.

Lakes in active and former quarries are particularly dangerous because they have very deep and cold water, the depth of water varies, and they have steep or crumbling sides which make exiting difficult. They can also have submerged machinery or debris that could cause injury or entanglement, and the water can be poisonous due to metals and algae.

We would strongly advise all parents/carers to discuss the dangers with their children and be vigilant. We want all of our students to enjoy the summer and return to school in September safely.