Water safety

The dangers of open water

  • The water is often far deeper that people think.
  • It's very cold, and can quickly cause cramp and breathing difficulties.
  • It may contain hidden rubbish and debris such as shopping trolleys and broken glass which can cause injuries and drowning.
  • Sometimes it can be polluted and makes them very ill.
  • During the school holidays, and in particular in hot weather, increasing numbers of children are drowning. On average, there are 50 of these tragedies each year in the UK.


If you do decide to swim in a lake or river, make sure you keep yourself as safe as possible...

  • Don't jump or dive in, as the water can be far deeper than it looks - with unseen hazards.
  • Never swim near weirs or locks as there are often dangerous currents.
  • Always make sure someone on land knows you are swimming.

If you see someone in trouble in water

  • Do not hesitate - call 999 immediately with clear details of your location.
  • Send someone to the nearest road to flag down the emergency services when they arrive and direct them to the incident
  • Find the nearest life ring and throw it to the person. If a life ring is not available, throw in anything that could help them float, for example, a football.
  • If someone goes under the water, mark on the water’s edge the place they were last seen with something like a piece of clothing.

Cambridgeshire’s #RememberRony campaign

Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service launched a campaign in the summer of 2015 pledging to deliver water safety education to every school in Cambridgeshire.

The campaign, called #RememberRony, has been backed by the family of Huntingdon teenager Rony John, who lost his life while playing with friends in the River Ouse in 2014.

What happened to Rony John was heartbreaking and we want this education campaign to be a lasting legacy so that some good can evolve from his tragic death. We have pledged to deliver water safety education at key stage two and three to every school in Cambridgeshire to educate young people about the risks of jumping in and swimming

 in our county's waterways.

How can you help?

  • Pledge your support on social media using #RememberRony
  • Tell us what you will be doing to stay safe around Cambridgeshire's waterway by tweeting us @cambsfrs using #RememberRony
  • Talk to your children about the hazards that could lie beneath

Rony's story

The day after the schools broke up for the summer holidays on July 24, 2014, 15-year-old Rony John, who was not a strong swimmer, jumped into the River Ouse, in Hartford, while playing with friends. After getting into difficulty in the water, and despite his friends' best efforts, he sadly drowned.

Sara Thomas, Rony's aunt, said: "We are supporting the campaign so a positive thing can come out of what happened to Rony and it can be his lasting legacy. We want more young people to know about the dangers of swimming and playing in rivers and open water and we want people to Remember Rony.

"We also want to see the provision of swimming lessons for all children in schools."

Between 2010 and 2015 have been 16 deaths in Cambridgeshire's waterways at water rescue incidents attended by the fire service. At the 81 water rescues CFRS attended during that time, a further 32 people were rescued by fire crews - luckily without the victims incurring any injuries.