For Immediate Release - 11 August, 2008
Youngsters are being warned to keep away from the docks on both banks of the Mersey after an incident in which two teenagers had to be rescued by the Fire Brigade from Egerton Dock at Birkenhead.
The Port of Liverpool Police and Merseyside Police have issued a joint appeal for children and teenagers to resist the temptation during the summer holidays to treat the dock waters as a swimming pool.
The boy and girl, both aged 16, got into difficulty at Egerton Dock when they went into the water on a warm summer evening. The girl became too exhausted to climb out and the boy had to support her in the water until the fire service arrived to rescue them. They were treated on site by paramedics before being taken by ambulance to Arrow Park Hospital.
Chief Officer of the Port Police, Ray Walker, said: "This incident could so easily have turned into a tragedy. We can understand why youngsters are attracted to the water in the docks in hot weather. But we cannot emphasise enough, just how dangerous working commercial docks can be.
"Those who trespass and venture into the water are putting their lives at risk. The docks are deep, but those who dive in have no idea what may be lurking beneath the surface. They have little concept of just how cold the water can be and once they are in, they are surrounded by high, sheer walls with limited means of escape.
"Our message to youngsters is simple: 'If you want to go for a swim, then go to the swimming baths where the environment is organised and safe. And keep out of the docks.'"
The Port of Liverpool Police stage an awareness campaign prior to the school summer holidays each year, with officers visiting schools to warn pupils of the dangers of playing and bathing in the docks.
Superintendent Michael Cloherty of Merseyside Police said the County Force had already dealt with a number of incidents that could have ended in tragedy. "None of my officers want to have to deal with a death in circumstances that could have been avoided. The docks are an active industrial area and should not be used for recreation.
"We strongly discourage any young people from playing or swimming in the docks. It is all too easy to get into difficulties because of the water temperature, underwater hazards and undercurrents."
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