River swimming can be a wonderful experience. There are, however, a few dangers you should be aware and careful of, if you wish to prevent river swimming accidents and illnesses.
River swimming risks
One of the most common risks when river swimming is that of injuries by slips and trips on rocks. Slip and trip injuries on ragged or wet rocks can be prevented by either going barefoot or wearing plimsolls, with rubber soles for better grip, and never running near rivers.
Other common risks when swimming in a river include:
- Cold shock
- Getting tangled in weeds
- Skin rashes or eye irritation caused by blue-green algae
Leptospirosis, which is a disease caused by rats’ urine in some urban rivers and canals, is also a potential risk of swimming in a river. Unless treated quickly, Leptospirosis may develop into the potentially fatal Weil’s disease.
Jumping and diving
Before jumping or diving into rivers, it is vital to check water depths and submerged obstructions like branches, rocks, banks of hard sand or rubbish to prevent potentially life-changing or fatal diving accidents.
Non-swimmers must be kept in shallow waters and constantly supervised to prevent drowning or near-drowning accidents. It is important to remember here that:
- Fast-flowing water can knock children and adults off their feet even in shallow sections
- Inflatables may be fun, but may float off into deeper sections or burst
Ideally, non-swimmers should not be in or near rivers without quality buoyancy aids. It would be better still to learn to swim before considering getting into a river.
Other river swimming risks
Slips, trips and falls can not only happen while in or near a river, but may also occur in nearby car parks, shops, cafés and restaurants.
While swimming in a river is inherently dangerous and you do so at your own risk, slip, trip or fall injuries in other places may mean someone else is responsible for your personal injury and could subsequently be held liable to compensate you for your pain and suffering.
Accident Advice Helpline
Specialising in public liability claims, our in-house solicitors have more than 15 years’ experience and an outstanding track record in securing personal injury compensation for members of the public.
If you believe you may be entitled to compensation, contact us on 0333 500 0993 from your mobile, or 0800 689 0500 from a landline, and have a confidential, no-obligation chat about it with one of our helpful, knowledgeable advisors.