Prominent landmarks in Renfrewshire have been lit up in blue to mark World Drowning Prevention Day today.

The Town Hall and Bascule Bridge in Renfrew and Houstoun Square bandstand in Johnstone were swathed in blue in a bid to raise awareness of the dangers of open water swimming.

Renfrewshire Council recently commissioned an emotional video with the family of William McNally, who tragically passed away on 5th June last year after getting into trouble while swimming with friends at the Clay Pits in Linwood.

The video speaks of the impact that William’s death had on his family and urges young people to be aware of the dangers of swimming in open water and aims to educate them on what to do in case of emergency.


Video: The video with Jayne and Claire Drennan
Video Credit: Renfrewshire Council

As well as being made available to the public, the video has been provided to every school in Renfrewshire to be show in classrooms as part of a drive to reduce the risk of a tragedy like this happening again.

Councillor Marie McGurk, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Communities and Housing Policy Board, said: “Educating our young people, and adults too, on the dangers of open water swimming is vital as we continue to try and recover from the tragic death of William McNally last year.

“The video commissioned to mark the anniversary of his death was extremely emotional and difficult to watch, but we hope it had the desired impact on everyone who watched it and they think twice before swimming in open water.

“We’re working hard to put measures in place to reduce the risk of a tragedy like this ever happening again by installing new safety equipment, visiting schools and working with our partners to implement our new water safety policy, and we will continue to do all we can to make our waterways in Renfrewshire as safe as possible.”

The video was commissioned by the Renfrewshire Water Safety Working Group that brings together the council, the area’s Civil Contingencies Service, OneRen, Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership, Police Scotland, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Scottish Ambulance Service and Open Water Rescue.

The group works closely as a partnership to educate young people about the dangers of open water swimming by delivering presentations to schools, as well as in-person talks with local young people at known spots for open water swimming, and seven new GPS signs have been placed at potentially dangerous areas along the River Gryffe.

Renfrewshire Council has also adopted a new water safety policy which outlines how it will review and tackle water safety issues, consider the introduction of additional lifesaving equipment, educate the public, especially children and young people, about the dangers of open water, and how it will work with private landowners.

Renfrewshire Council can provide more information on water safety. For more information, visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/water-safety.

Headline photo: Jayne and Claire Drennan
Photo Credit: Renfrewshire Council

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