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"Don't jump in the canal" warning as Devon hots up

Published: 20 May 2020

Jumping into or swimming in the canal is not safe, the Council is warning

People are being warned about the dangers of swimming in or jumping into rivers or canals.

The warning comes from Exeter City Council as the UK enjoys a spell of hot weather.

It follows a spate of incidents where people have been jumping into the Exeter Canal, some at Double Locks.

Signs were put up some time ago warning people about the dangers of drowning as well as the disturbance to wildlife. The move was backed by the Fire Service and the Environment Agency.

Cllr David Harvey, Lead Councillor for Place, said the Council was concerned for the safety of people jumping into the Canal and that signs were to prevent injury or even loss of life.

“The Canal is not a safe place to be swimming in or jumping into,” he added.

“People can’t always see what they are jumping into and there are also significant risks from the propellers of boats. Taking in water may be harmful and there is a threat to wildlife, especially nesting birds.”

Devon Fire and Rescue Service have said in the past that there is also a risk of cold water shock with the air temperature being significantly higher than that of the water. This can make water users shiver, affecting their coordination and swimming ability and has the potential to be fatal.

The Council stressed that people need to maintain social distancing requirements, especially around canal pinch points such as the bridges and locks. These areas need to be kept clear for everyone’s safety and to allow canal staff to carry out their duties, such as allowing to navigate the stretch of water.

Finally, magnet fishing is not allowed on the canal. Items left discarded beside the canal can be a hazard to the public and Exeter & District Angling Association, who manage fishing on the waterway on behalf of the Council, have been advised of this.


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