Yalding weir: hotspot for water rescues
Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) and Kent Police are asking those enjoying the hot summer weather to heed their water safety advice and stay out of the county's rivers. Kent and Medway has a wide variety of lakes, tidal and non-tidal rivers and waterways, all of which carry hidden dangers.
Fire crews and local officers will be at The Lees in Yalding on Saturday 28 July highlighting the dangers of swimming in the nearby weir, which can become a fast-flowing torrent without notice.
A water safety unit and rescue boat from Larkfield fire station will be on display from 11am to 2pm and KFRS’s community safety team and will be providing tips on staying safe around water this summer.
KFRS service delivery manager Rob Groombridge said: “Kent Fire and Rescue Service is urging people not to put their lives at risk by entering the water at Yalding weir in Maidstone, or indeed any other part of the river.
“The weir is a hotspot for water rescue incidents, and there has already been some serious near misses this year, both here and elsewhere in the county, where people have got in to difficulty in the water. The area is very popular with families in the summer and it is tempting to want to cool off in the water, but it is extremely dangerous. What appears to be a shallow and calm water at one moment, can turn into a raging torrent without warning when the sluice gates open, and you can quickly be swept you off your feet in to deep water, putting you at serious risk of drowning.”
Watch our video to further understand the dangers
He added: “Our advice to anyone considering allowing their family to enter the water at Yalding weir is please don’t risk it. Our advice is to keep yourself and your loved-one safe by opting instead to visit a swimming pool or beach where a life-guard is present.”
Kent Police Chief Inspector Mark Hedges said: “There have been a number of occasions when people have entered bodies of water during the summer months and got into difficulties. Tragically, in some cases this has led to fatal consequences.
“My officers are supporting Kent Fire and Rescue Service to get the message across that families can enjoy themselves in public areas near rivers and lakes but we’d ask people to do so responsibly by not swimming in deep water and ensuring children are supervised at all times.”
Take a look at our water safety advice.