GPS signage and lifebelts are set to be installed at the new footbridge across the River Cart in Paisley as part of Renfrewshire Council’s commitment to improving water safety across the area.
Two new lifebelts will be placed on the banks of the river, as well as GPS signage which can be used to confirm the exact location of an incident quickly to the emergency services.
The equipment follows the recent implementation of seven new GPS signs placed at potentially dangerous areas along the River Gryffe and forms part of a drive to improve the safety of all waterways in Renfrewshire.
A new Water Safety policy has been adopted by the Council 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.
Councillor Marie McGurk, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Communities, Housing and Planning Policy Board, said: “I’m glad to see this life-saving equipment being placed at the site of the new bridge as part of our commitment to improving water safety across Renfrewshire.
“The dangers of open water swimming are obvious, but accidents also happen and having the GPS signage and lifebelts could really make the difference in a perilous situation.
“I know officers are now considering water safety as part of any new project like the new White Cart bridge and that is extremely important as we want to continue to be proactive in our approach to keeping people safe around our waterways in Renfrewshire.”
The new equipment is one of the first actions of the Renfrewshire Water Safety Working Group which brings together Renfrewshire Council, Civil Contingencies Service, Renfrewshire Leisure, Police Scotland, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Scottish Ambulance Service and Open Water Rescue, and formalises the ongoing work to improve water safety in Renfrewshire.
The working group work closely as a partnership to educate young people about the dangers of open water swimming and will deliver presentations to schools, as well as in-person talks with local young people at known spots for open water swimming.
Police Scotland provided £10,000 towards improving water safety in Renfrewshire which has contributed to the purchase and installation of the equipment at the River Gryffe and the White Cart footbridge.
Chief Inspector Rhona Fraser, Renfrewshire and Inverclyde Division said: “This equipment is a vital resource in saving lives and improving the safety of Renfrewshire’s waterways.
“Emergency services rely on quick communication when lives are at risk and the new GPS signage will help expedite that process.
“Open water swimming can be inviting, particularly during warm weather, but conditions can change very quickly and there are often hidden risks like deep water and strong currents. I hope the installation of this new equipment alerts people to the dangers and potentially fatal consequences of ignoring water safety advice.”
For more information on water safety in Renfrewshire, visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/water-safety.