Awareness about the dangers of swimming in open waters across Northampton are being raised by the borough council, police and Environment Agency after a water-skiing club had to cancel a planned open day because of people ignoring safety warnings and taking the plunge at Delapre Lake.
Northampton Water Ski & Wakeboard Club says it has had to pull the plug on the open day, scheduled for this Sunday, for “health and safety reasons”, blaming swimmers who ignore ‘no swimming’ signs at the lake.
Councillor Mike Hallam, Northampton Borough Council’s cabinet member for environment, said: “The Guildhall has been working with the police and Environment Agency to “raise awareness and warn people of the dangers of swimming in open waters”.
He said: “We have stepped up our park ranger patrols of the area and put up some extra temporary ‘no swimming’ signs.
“We are also aware of the issues with people having parties and barbecues and leaving litter behind in the area around the lake. Again our park rangers are doing what they can to address the issue.”
He also warned about setting fires in open places.
Dan Hartwell, speaking on behalf of Northampton Water Ski & Wakeboard Club, said the idea of driving jet boats on the lake while swimmers were in the water was a “recipe for disaster”.
He said: “We have run many successful open days in the past, but not for the last six years, so most members were very committed and excited about making this day work very well for everybody.
“Unfortunately high numbers of these people also decide to completely ignore the ‘no swimming’ signs and swim right out to the middle of the lake, around the islands situated on the lake, across the main boating entry and exit lanes, to the boating jetties.
“People are also using the jetties as diving boards into the lake.
“This is an extreme health and safety issue for us, as when driving speedboats it is very hard to see while accelerating hard when pulling a skier out of the water and driving with sun glare on the water.”