New film highlights risks of swimming in reservoirs

Swinsty Reservoir. Picture by 'Joe Saxton.
Swinsty Reservoir. Picture by 'Joe Saxton.

A film that exposes the life threatening risks of swimming in reservoirs, including Swinsty and Fewston, has been made to help bring an end to tragic accidents.

With water temperatures as low as 12ºC, depths of up to 50m and undercurrents lurking beneath the surface, the Cold Water Kills film highlights that even a short swim could end in tragedy.

Produced by Yorkshire Water and West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, the film is aimed at young people who are most likely to be tempted to swim in reservoirs during the summer holidays.

It features a hard-hitting recreation of a reservoir emergency rescue with a tragic ending.

In the last five years alone, Yorkshire’s four fire and rescue services have been called out to around 346 water rescue incidents- 20 of which resulted in deaths.

The most recent reservoir fatality was at Snailsden reservoir in South Yorkshire last summer when a police dive team found the body of a 38 year-old man on the surface bed.

Alastair Harvey, recreation advisor at Yorkshire Water, said: “Reservoirs may look tempting to take a swim in but they can be killers and our dramatic film will hopefully raise awareness of these risks amongst young people.

“Cold water shock can lead to hyperventilation, increased blood pressure, breathing difficulties and heart attacks plus water temperatures remain just as cold in summer as in winter.

“We have 115 scenic and beautiful reservoirs that we want walkers, cyclists, runners, picnic-goers and others to enjoy this summer. We just don’t want anyone to swim in them and we want people to obey our warning signs.”

• To view the film visit It can also be shared on social media using #ColdWaterKills.