Stay safe around water

Stay safe around open water in Lee Valley Regional Park

During the winter months, please take extra care at Lee Valley Regional Park. 
In wintry weather be cautious near frozen water – it can be enjoyed from a distance but don’t put yourself or others at risk by ignoring safety advice. Where rivers and lakes have frozen do not be tempted to set foot on the ice. Never enter water around the park under any circumstances at any time of the year.
Information from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) shows that over 50% of ice related drownings involved an attempted rescue of another person or a dog. In many instances the dog managed to scramble ashore unaided while the owner did not.
Many of the areas of water in the Regional Park used to be gravel pits and people underestimate how dangerous they can be. Under the ice there are shallow shelves dropping without notice into very deep water and there are underwater obstructions from the original gravel workings as well as thick aquatic vegetation as part of the natural environment.
Pathways, roads and car parks can also be slippery when icy so always take care when walking or driving in and around the Park. 
Rangers from Lee Valley Regional Park Authority and community safety service Parkguard will continue to undertake patrols around open spaces and water areas throughout the winter and in particular during cold and icy weather. 
To remain safe around frozen water in Lee Valley Regional Park:
  • Think SAFEStay Away From the Edge
  • Do not ice skate on frozen water
  • Do not attempt to rescue wildlife stranded on the ice 
  • If the ice gives way, it can cause hypothermia and ultimately drowning
  • If you see anyone or any animal in danger, call 999 urgently for help
  • Do discuss the dangers of playing on or near frozen water, so children are aware
  • Do make sure you know where your children are while out in the park
  • Do not leave children unsupervised near frozen ponds, rivers, lakes or other bodies of water
Dog walkers:
  • Do keep your dog on a lead at all times near frozen water
  • Do not throw balls and sticks for your dog near frozen water
  • Do not follow or attempt to fetch back your dog if it goes onto the ice
  • Do not attempt to try to rescue a dog if it gets into trouble, you will put your own life in danger
  • Call 999 for help
If you see someone get into trouble:
  • Call the emergency services 999
  • Do not attempt to go out on the ice yourself
  • Tell the person to ‘keep still’ to maintain heat and energy, and offer reassurance to keep them clam
  • Try finding something which will extend your reach, such as a rope, pole, clothing tied together or branch
  • Once ensuring you are stable on the bank either by lying down or having someone hold on to you, throw the object out and pull them in
  • If you cannot find something to reach with, try finding an object that will float and throw that out to them
  • Ensure that you keep off the ice at all times during the rescue, continue to reassure the casualty and keep them talking until help arrives
  • Once the person has been rescued, keep them warm by covering them with warm clothing, blankets etc. Do not undress them until they are in a warm place
  • Do not rub their skin and do not give an alcoholic drink
  • The casualty must go to hospital even if they appear to be unaffected
Further tips and advice:
  • Always let others know where you walking and put on extra layers when out in the park during winter months
  • In icy conditions many car parks, paths and bridges could be slippery under foot
  • Be aware of your surroundings, nearby access routes or names of car parks should you need to provide location information to emergency services
  • A number of our bridges are labelled with reference numbers that can be provided to emergency services to help them locate you
  • Should you wish to report anything of concern to the Regional Park Authority then please either call 03000 030 610 and press option 2 between 08:00 - 17:00 Monday to Friday or 01992 210 196 at other times.
  • Please take a moment to look at the RNLI’s Respect The Water Campaign - 
  • The RNLI also have some really useful information on their website covering Cold Water Shock:


Staying safe around water


We are running a trial of what3words in River Lee Country Park. This app locates you with astonishing accuracy. It has divided the entire world into 3m x 3m squares and given each one a unique three word code. You can download the app here. It is particularly useful if you need help in the park where it can be difficult to guide Emergency Services to exactly where you are. 
Some Emergency Services use what3words. Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service already use it and Hertfordshire Police are trialing it.
If you download the app and need help, you’ll be able to give the Emergency Services your exact location. We are backing this up with what3words signage in key places in River Lee Country Park.  
If you need to call for emergency assistance, ask the operator if they use what3words and give them your location either via the app or from one of the what3words signs in the park. 

Robbie Lea Water Safety Partnership

Lee Valley Regional Park Authority is part of this important partnership set up in the wake of the tragic death of teenager Robbie Lea in a lake in the Regional Park in May 2017. 
The partnership was inspired by the efforts of Robbie’s mother, Sarah, to raise awareness of water safety issues. It brings a group of agencies and individuals together to support and enhance water safety education initiatives. The partnership is focusing its efforts on the borough of Broxbourne, and so far, over 4,000 young people have been engaged through assemblies and practical water safety demonstrations at secondary schools throughout the Borough and initiatives have the potential to be shared in the future across Hertfordshire and Essex.
The partnership has also successfully delivered annual multi-agency community safety events at Lee Valley White Water Centre which has gained extensive press and media coverage from many regional and national outlets. In 2018 Partnership was awarded the ‘Innovation in Public Service and Community Focus’ award at the Hertfordshire Constabulary Chief Constable Awards and also the ‘Community Safety Initiative of the Year’ accolade at last year’s HEART awards. The partners involved are:






To report any of the following:

  • unruly or dangerous behaviour in and around frozen water
  • accidents, incidents or near misses
  • wildlife trapped on/in the ice                                            

For any incidents call 03000 030 610 between 08:00 - 17:00
or 01992 210 196 between 17:00 - 08:00

In an emergency call 999
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