Stay safe around water

Stay safe around water

During warm and hot weather, visitors to Lee Valley are being advised not to be tempted enter into lakes, rivers or other open water in Lee Valley Regional Park under any circumstances. It might look enticing however people have drowned because the water can be so cold - even on hot summer days –it can send your body into shock, stopping you being able to swim. It can be enjoyed from a distance but do not to put yourself or others at risk by ignoring safety advice.

Many of the water bodies in the Regional Park used to be gravel pits and people can underestimate how dangerous they are, including the presence of underwater currents. In many case there are shallow shelves dropping without notice into very deep water and there are underwater obstructions from the original gravel abstraction as well as thick aquatic vegetation as part of the natural environment.
Rangers from Lee Valley Regional Park Authority and community safety service Parkguard will be undertaking extra patrols around the water areas and will speak to people to give advice.  

Staying safe around water

To remain safe around water in Lee Valley Regional Park:

  • Think SAFEStay Away From the Edge
  • Do not go in to the water under any circumstances – NO PADDLING, NO SWIMMING AND NO WATER CRAFT!
  • Do not go into the water to rescue wildlife or pets, as they are normally able to get themselves out
  • Do not take unnecessary risks in or around water bodies
  • Do read and take notice of warning signs. Think about the hazards near to and at the water’s edge, banks can be slippery when wet. If you fall in, it may be difficult to get out
  • Do not assume because you can swim in a pool that you can deal with the challenges of open water swimming
  • Do not consume alcohol in or around water bodies as it may seriously impair your ability and judgment
  • Do keep your dogs on a lead when near water for their safety.


  • Do discuss the dangers of playing on or near open 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 ponds, rivers, lakes or other bodies of water

Float to Live: If you're in trouble in cold water:

  • Fight your instinct to thrash around
  • Lean back, extend your arms and legs
  • If you need to, gently move your arms and legs to help you float
  • Float until you can control your breathing
  • Only then call for help or swim to safety
  • Please take a moment to watch this video

If you see someone get into trouble:

  • Call the emergency services 999
  • Do not attempt to go out into the water yourself
  • Tell the person to ‘keep still’ to maintain heat and energy, and offer reassurance to keep them calm
  • Try finding something which will extend your reach, such as a rope, pole, clothing tied together or branch
  • Throw the object out and, 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
  • 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
  • Continue to reassure the casualty and keep them talking until help arrives

Further tips and advice:

  • Always let others know where you walking and wear appropriate clothing when out in the park
  • 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 codes that can be provided to emergency services to help them locate you
  • To report non-emergency concerns or feedback to Lee Valley Regional Park please either call 03000 030 610 between 08:00 - 17:00 or 01992 210 196 between 17:00 - 08:00
  • Alternatively, send a text to Rangers with your message to 62277 – please include the site location and nature of the issue you are reporting (note that this is not monitored 24/7)


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, however, initiatives have the potential to be shared in the future across Hertfordshire and is discussing  rolling out to Essex.

The partnership has already provided a multi-agency community safety event and in-school tutorials and assemblies at secondary schools across Broxbourne. The partners are:



Stay safe water summer


To report any of the following:

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

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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