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Caution urged when swimming in Waikato River

File photo.

Police are urging the public to use common sense if they are heading into the water, after being called to multiple rescues in the Waikato River in recent days.

As the days get warmer, more and more people will be keen to head out for a swim or take part in various water-based activities.

“We know people in Waikato are really keen to get out and about, particularly following the change in alert levels earlier this week,” says Hamilton City Area Commander Inspector Andrea McBeth

The river may be a tempting spot for a quick swim, but it has fast flowing and changeable currents, whirlpools in some parts, and the depth of the water can vary widely within a small area.

“For that reason, it’s important that people who are swimming in the river stay close to shore and be mindful of potential hazards,” says Inspector McBeth.

To ensure everyone returns home at the end of the day, no matter where you’re swimming, it’s vital to keep some basic water safety rules top of mind.

Firstly, be prepared.

Know the water and weather conditions before you get in.

Secondly, look after yourself and others.

Swim with others and always supervise children around the water.

Thirdly, be aware of the dangers.

Obey all safety signs and warnings, and never drink alcohol before swimming.

Finally, know your limits.

Challenge yourself within your physical limits and experience, and learn safe ways of rescuing others without putting yourself in danger.

To find out more about water safety, check out the information on Water Safety New Zealand’s website: www.watersafety.org.nz

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