(Image courtesy of Weston-super-Mare RNLI)
Weston-super-Mare’s annual RNLI Christmas Day dip has been cancelled this year – due to red tape. The RNLI Christmas Day Dip has been a highlight of the town’s calendar for many years, with many braving the chilly waters of Marine Lake before tucking into their turkey dinner.
But this year tight timescales have meant the RNLI is unable to meet the necessary health and safety regulations needed for the event to go ahead. There are also concerns about the level of mud which remains in the lake after remedial work to the sluice gates was unable to be carried out.
Health and safety regulations state that a full risk assessment needs to be carried out ahead of any event going ahead. The RNLI would have to have a system in place to check people in and out of the water plus a missing persons protocol.
It would also need to provide lifeguards and changing facilities along with hot drinks and first aid. RNLI spokesman Cai Budd said: “For the event to go ahead there would need to be a full health and safety risk assessment carried out.
“The lake has been closed a number of times this year and we cannot now get this done in the timescale available. There is also some concern about the amount of silt which remains in the lake and the potential for someone to get stuck.
“However we have plenty of time to get all the procedures in place and plan for the swim to return next year.” The event used to raise money for the RNLI as a result of donations from swimmers.
The RNLI is urging people who fancy a dip this winter to follow safety precautions below due to the risk of cold water shock.
* Be prepared. Check the weather and tides, choose your spot, go with a buddy, have the right equipment.
* If in doubt, don’t go out. No matter how much preparation you do, or how experienced you are, if a swim doesn’t feel right there is no shame in getting out of the water straight away, or not entering.
*Make sure you acclimatise to avoid cold water shock.Be seen. Wear a bright coloured swim hat and take a tow float.
*Stay within your depths
Source: Bristol Post