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Staying safe around water 

Entering water in the park isn’t permitted – not only is it against our Byelaws and but this rule is there to help keep you safe too.


In recent years the number of accidental drownings in the UK has risen – a sad fact but true. We’ve set out some advice below to help you enjoy the park this summer.

Report any of the following incidents on the numbers below:

  • unruly or dangerous behaviour in and around water

  • accidents, incidents or near misses

  • wildlife in trouble                                     


Contact us:

Here are some other great organisations who have information on water safety:

Remember Robbie

Robbie Lea was a fun loving, sporty 17 year old boy when he entered North Met Pit in the summer of 2017. What was meant to be a laugh with his mates, turned into tragedy as Robbie drowned after the effects of cold water shock took hold.


After his tragic death, Robbie’s mum, Sarah, Lee Valley Regional Park Authority and other local and national organisations came together to create the Robbie Lea Water Safety Partnership. Its aim is to help educate children and young people about water safety through assemblies and community events. If you’d like to find out more please email our Learning and Engagement team on  


Why not?

Entering water in the park isn’t permitted – it’s dangerous and against our Byelaws. Here are a few of the reason why this isn’t permitted.

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It’s colder that it looks

Inland water is always a lot colder than you think, even on hot days. The drop in your body temperature as you enter the cold water can cause Cold Water Shock. This is where you lose control of your breathing, use of your limbs and if left too long can fall unconscious and even be fatal. 


Remember float to live – relax on your back while your body adjusts then make your way to safety.

It’s dirtier than it looks

From abandoned industrial equipment, dumped trollies, empty glass bottles, wrappers, animal wee and poo… the list goes on! Although our open water is a haven for wildlife it has, unfortunately, been a dumping ground and is still treated disrespectfully today. There’s no way of knowing what’s in the water and what could be going onto your skin, hair and if you accidentally swallow any of the water, into your body.

This dumped rubbish can also cause obstructions underwater which you could get  trapped by - this could stop you from getting out of the water to safety.

It’s stronger than it looks

Lots of water in the park have underwater currents, which you can’t see from the surface. You can easily get caught up in the flow and tire easily trying to escape it.

If you find yourself caught in a current, don’t try to swim against it, stay calm,  swim with the current and call for help.

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It’s lonelier than it looks

There are no lifeguards at our waterbodies so there’s no one to help you.

The average time for an emergency ambulance is 8 minutes but with lots of winding paths and detours in the park finding you in an emergency is a lot harder and extra time in cold water can have devastating consequences.

A great way to pinpoint your position in the park is with the What3Words app. This will give you three words for your precise location within a 3m square and can be used by emergency services to help find you.

What should I do?

Whenever you’re around water – follow water safety code


  • Stop and think:  take in your surroundings, do your research and read all local signs.

  • Stay together:  when visiting places with water, go with a friend or family. Only swim at life guarded venues.


If you do find yourself in an emergency

  • Call for help! Shout to people on land or call 999 and ask for Fire and Rescue. Do not enter the water to try and help anyone – you could be putting yourself in danger too and making rescues more complicated.

  • Float to live! Lie flat on your back with your arms and legs out like a star, stay calm, and try and keep your breathing at a normal pace. You can see more on float to live here.

Where can I swim?

Where can I swim?

We understand that lot of people enjoy open water swimming and here are some places around the Lee Valley where you can enjoy it in a safe environment.

What can parents do

Calling parents!

There’s been a marked  increase in teenagers, mainly young boys and men, entering the waterbodies in the park.

Did you know that 83% of people that accidental drown are male?

We understand that young people are looking to enjoy themselves in the summer time, but please share with them the different dangers there are in the water and how they can save themselves and others if they find themselves in an emergency.

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