Loch Lomond Water Safety

Staying safe in Loch Lomond’s waters

Loch Lomond is a popular spot for water activities, such as boating and sailing, swimming, canoeing, water skiing and board sports. It’s vitally important to stay safe when out on the open water, to avoid the risk of injury or drowning. So here, we’re sharing some safety tips and resources, to ensure you enjoy the water responsibly and safely at all times.

Useful Resources

The Water Safety Code

This code was developed by Water Safety Scotland members. It gives you the key information needed to stay safe around water. From spotting potential dangers to dealing with emergency situations. Download and print the code here.

RNLI Safety Advice

The RNLI has safety guides for various water activities, including kayaking and canoeing, open-water swimming, paddle boarding and sailing. You can find the full list here. Whatever activity you’re embarking on, read the safety guide in advance, allowing enough time to make all the necessary preparations and gather the correct equipment.

Water safety advice

Be aware of the dangers of open water

Loch Lomond is a large, deep loch, so always check for potential hazards before entering. For example, check the weather forecast first. Make sure there is a safe way to exit the water as well as enter. Look around for any signage that warns of dangers, such as deep waters and strong currents. Choose clear waters with good visibility and be aware that the depth may be uneven and there could be a sudden drop-off from the shore. Ensure you are wearing the correct safety equipment for your chosen activity at all times.

Take care in the cold water

The average temperature of the water in Loch Lomond ranges from 4°C to 15°C, depending on the time of year. So even in the summer, the water here is cold and there is a risk of cold water shock. This is an involuntary response to the cold, which affects your movement, breathing and heart rate. It can affect even the strongest, most confident swimmers. To decrease the risk of CWS, enter the water slowly and gradually, and wear a wetsuit or drysuit. If you experience CWS, fight the urge to swim hard and instead float on your back, then get out of the water if possible, or signal for help.

Never enter the water alone

You should never enter open water alone. Always have at least one person with you, so you can look out for each other and call for help if needed. You should also tell someone where you are going and when you expect to get back.

Know what to do in an emergency

In case of emergency, put your phone in a waterproof pouch and take it with you into the water. In a life-threatening emergency call 999. You could use an app such as RYA SafeTrx app, which has several safety features, including sending messages to emergency contacts if you don’t come back when expected. The What3Words app is also useful to help you give a precise location to the emergency services.

If someone is in trouble in the water, call 999 immediately. The RNLI gives this advice on how to rescue someone from drowning.

Don’t drink or take drugs before entering the water

Alcohol and drugs can alter your judgement, alertness, concentration and coordination. Therefore you should never take them before entering the water. This can be fatally dangerous.

Use an accredited water activity company

Using a responsible activity company means there will be expert guidance and health and safety measures in place during your water activity session. They will ensure you have the correct training, well-maintained equipment and a safe environment. Be sure to check their safety policy and ask any questions you may have before booking with them.

Please take care in and around Loch Lomond’s waters, be aware of the dangers and take steps to protect yourself and those around you. For further information, please see Loch Lomond and the Trossachs Water Safety and Loch Lomond Byelaws.

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