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Water safety message to be highlighted at Dragon Boat Racing event

Firefighters will be promoting water safety at this year's Dragon Boat Racing event, which is hosted by UCLan, at Preston Marina.

The event sees competitors take to the waters of Preston Docks, Europe’s largest inland docks, to battle it in the Chamber’s Dragon Boat Challenge.

Competitors battle in the Dragon Boat Race

Competitors battle in the Dragon Boat Race

Crews from Penwortham are set to attend the event in order to highlight the hidden risks associated with swimming in open waters from 10.30am on Saturday.

Each year more than 300 people drown after tripping, falling or just by underestimating the risks associated with being near water, say Fire Services. Many more people, they add, are left with life changing injuries in water related incidents.

The latest Water Safety Forum statistics relate to 2016 and show there were 648 water related fatalities, 315 of these were accidental drownings.

In June 2014, 17-year-old James Goodship died in a lake at Smithy Lane, Colne, when he swam for the bank from a raft he and friends had constructed to get onto the water. Firefighters searched by boat and along the fringes of the lake, with underwater searches made by police divers but James had already, unfortunately, died.

Following this tragic accident, Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service created a video highlighting the dangers of open water called “James drowned, I nearly did”.

Group Manager Mark Hutton, Community Protection Manager for Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service says:“There are many hidden dangers of swimming in open water.

"The shock of cold water can get even strong swimmers into difficulty, it doesn’t matter how fit and healthy you are, the water is always stronger.

"The water can be deep, submerged objects may not be visible and it’s difficult to estimate the depth before you get in. Finally you may be able to jump in to water but there are not always suitable places to climb out.”