Posted: 20.07.21 at 15:36 by Ellie Brown
Kingston river safety volunteers have issued a series of warnings as people flock to the Thames to cool off during the current heatwave
Sun-seekers re-appeared at Teddington Lock over the weekend to take advantage of the heat after the mercury soared to 31 degrees on Saturday 17 July.
But while most of the swimmers stuck to the shallow area between the beach and the Lock's moorings, some were seen jumping into the Thames from the footbridges, despite this being extremely risky .
The RNLI has warned that 'tombstoners' risk serious spinal and other injuries due to the danger of hitting debris, plus cold water shock on entry to the river, which can kill in seconds.
Kingston Maritime Volunteer Service(MVS) also took the opportunity to remind people how to enjoy the Thames responsibly.
In a series of Twitter posts the service highlighted the dangers that can occur when advice is not taken seriously.
This included the sad death of a 47-year-old man who tried to swim across the Thames in Kingston in 2019.
And last year, a young man escaped serious injury when he was injured by a boat's propeller while swimming in Teddington Lock's navigation channel - according to the MVS.
The volunteers summed up their advice in another post, stating that Teddington Lock is "a safe place to swim as long as people are sensible and stay close to the bank.
"Teddington Lock on the other side of the island is NOT safe with a narrow navigation channel and large trip boats transiting."
Swimming in the channel is also against the Thames byelaws .
But only last month the channel was filled with groups of youths going for a swim, despite the location of safer swimming spots upstream at Ham.
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