You may have seen recent reports advising against going in the River Stour near Bures after a number of people became ill (click to read EADT article and click to read Colchester Gazette article).
However, we contacted the Environment Agency and their Anglian Waterways team for an update and can confirm, as of Monday 2 August, there had been no further reports for over a week. This is especially good news because it is our Coracle Regatta at Bures this Saturday!
But this serves as a reminder that open water swimming carries different risks to swimming in a pool. Anyone can become unwell from swimming in any open water as there will always be micro-organisms present. Those enjoying a paddle are also susceptible and we advise river users to take necessary precautions (in particular, we warn about Weil’s Disease on our Navigation Guide page- click here).
It is important you understand the symptoms so you can take necessary action. For ‘swim healthy’ guidance visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/swim-healthy-leaflet/swim-healthy
Of course, a variety of river users has other considerations. For example, we have noticed that many swimmers are simply not making an effort to make themselves visible. The potential for a collision with a boat is high, especially at congested stretches of the river.
Please also note that The Anglian Navigation Byelaws prohibit diving/swimming as follows:
- Byelaw 15 (i) No person shall dive or jump into a recreational waterway from any bridge, lock or land drainage structure thereover unless a device has been provided for that purpose.
[there are NO apprpriate diving structures on the river!]
- Byelaw 15 (ii) No personal shall bathe or swim within 100 metres as herein provided of the following locks, sluices, weirs or water intakes…
On the River Stour – Cattawade Barrage in the Parish of Brantham in the County of Suffolk upstream thereof…or within 36 metres upstream or downstream of any other lock, sluice, weir or water intake, or in any lock pen.
The River Stour is a popular location and we are delighted that it is being enjoyed although we tend to promote the activities ON the river! We are hoping to find out more about open water swimming and plan to share tips for keeping safe.
The river can be enjoyed recreationally in so many ways but always consider the safety of yourself and others whether you are on, in or next to the river!