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Extra river patrols to combat Dee dangers

Published date: 30 July 2014 |
Published by: Steve Creswell
Read more articles by Steve Creswell


 

SAFETY boat patrols are being increased on the River Dee in Chester after a teenager had to be rescued.

The girl had trouble negotiating the underwater currents and became exhausted as she tried to struggle to the bank.

Luckily she was spotted by the crew of a patrol boat, operated by Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWaC), and was transported safely back to dry land.

The council is now warning people of the dangers of river swimming, which include passing motorboats, rowers and even jet-skis.

Under city byelaws, jet-ski riders are prohibited from using the river and face prosecution if caught.

Cllr Lynn Riley, executive member for localities at CWaC, said: “It’s tempting to want to cool off in the river during these sunny days but swimmers need to be aware of the dangers that the water presents.

“The river is a fantastic asset to this city and we want everyone to have the ability to enjoy it to its full extent but more importantly we want people to enjoy it safely and so discourage swimming in the river if not part of an organised event.

“The main problem is that swimmers sit very low in the water, and can often not be seen by boats. They are even less visible to rowers, who face away from the direction they are travelling in.”

The council is recommending people take advantage of organised swimming events, which are “carefully managed” by experienced river users.

Prior to the events, boat owners are warned that swimmers are in the river, and the area is also protected by a safety boat, lanes or brightly coloured safety buoys.

Cllr Riley said the council would be clamping down on illegal jet-ski use on the river.
She said: “The council has recently been made aware of the use of jet skis on the river, which is in contravention of the river byelaws and presents a very serious danger to swimmers.

“The river is particularly busy at this time of the year and jet skis are not suitable, nor welcomed, on our river.”

Under byelaws powered craft must be licensed by the council and not exceed 6mph on the river.

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