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With the high numbers of drownings in Loch Lomond during the summer of 2021, extra lifebelts were installed along the shore. This was done through the Partnership Approach to Water Safety (PAWS) in conjunction with West Dunbartonshire Council, the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority, Loch Lomond Rescue Boat and Open Water Rescue, the Prevention and Protection division of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (who maintain the equipment) and Police Scotland.  

The following photos were taken during rescue exercises on the Leven at the footbridge across from Renton in September 2021 and 2022. 

"Victims" get swept downstream by the current,

One of the "victims" nears a point from which a rescue attempt can be more easily attempted. You must realise that these crew in the training exercise are well kitted out for the occasion. In reality, the victim will find the water extreme cold at all times of the year and the current can become very turbulent.

A boyant throw bag is an excellent means of getting a line to a victim.

Coordination and communication are key to a successful rescue.

Once pulled in, the team work together to ensure sound footing in the current to carry the victim to safety.

An inflated hose anchored with a rope is used to give a broad grab in fast flowing water.


The Danger-Grab-Bouy concept.

A well established range of means of rescue is used by rescue services. Many, perhaps most incidents though, happen very quickly and sometimes in fairly remote areas for suitably prompt reaction by these rescue services and this leaves it up to the public themselves to react. That is why so many lifebelts are installed along the shores of our inland waterways. The new lifebelts are much appreciated within their context, but felt to leave large areas of water just off-shore unprotected. And they require some degree of skill and even means to get them to victims. A suggested option to remedy this is as discussed in the link below; a means of gaining respite when struggling.

Such bouys would :

  • mark the edge of underwater shelves which are not just dramatic changes in depth, but also water temperature. Cold water frequently causes cramps.
  • mark zones in which boats need to be more cautious such as where swimmers may be.
  • provide clear limitations for swimmers away from the shore into boating areas
  • provide a means of grabbing onto something if a swimmer gets into diffculty from exhaustion, cramps or simply cold.

DANGER-GRAB-BUOYS : documents/water-safety/water-safety-on-local-lochs-and-rivers-_danger-grab-buoy-_-a_2.pdf  

LOCH LOMOND : index.asp?pageid=715804

HOW TO USE A THROW BAG : https://rnli.org/magazine/magazine-featured-list/2017/june/be-someones-lifeline-know-how-to-use-a-throw-bag  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Throw_bag

The RLSS / ROYAL LIFESAVING SOCIETY  is very relevant to inland waters : https://www.rlss.org.uk/Pages/Category/water-safety-information

The RNLI / ROYAL NATIONAL LIFEBOAT INSTITUTION have some very notable information more for open waters and the sea : https://rnli.org/

WATER SAFETY SCOTLAND : https://www.watersafetyscotland.org.uk/

WATER SAFETY SCOTLAND'S Drowning Prevention Strategy :   https://watersafetyscotland.org.uk/media/1213/scotlands-drowning-prevention-strategy.pdf


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