MFRS warns of open water dangers following tragic death in St Helens

Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service (MFRS) is urging the public to understand the dangers of open waters and learn what to do in a water-related emergency, following the tragic death of a teenager in Carr Mill Dam, St Helens yesterday.

Following the incident, MFRS Area Manager for Prevention Mark Thomas said: “Everyone at Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service is devastated by the tragic incident at Carr Mill Dam yesterday and our thoughts are with the family, friends and loved ones of the teenager at this terrible time.

“I would like to take this opportunity to commend all in our emergency services family who were involved – call handlers, fire crews and police and ambulance colleagues - who made every effort to change the outcome of this awful incident.”

AM Thomas urged all the public to be aware of the real dangers of swimming in or spending time near open water, particularly during the warm weather of the summer months.

In 2022, 46% of accidental drownings in the United Kingdom (UK) happened during June, July and August. Inland water, such as rivers, canals, lakes, reservoirs, and quarries continue to be the leading locations for accidental drowning with 60% of all accidental drowning deaths.

AM Thomas said: “Sadly, there have been several recent water-related fatalities across the UK. We would urge people to make sure they are aware of the very real dangers involved and learn the importance of knowing what to do in an emergency.

“Understanding the dangers of open water, as well as knowing what to do if you or someone else is in danger in the water, is life-saving information. We’d also encourage parents and caregivers to take the time to speak to younger people about this vital water safety advice.”



  • The water is cold – even on very warm days. Sudden immersion can lead to cold water shock, which can cause gasping and intake of water
  • River banks and cliff edges may be unstable and give way, particularly after bad weather
  • Depth can be difficult to estimate and debris under the water such as shopping trolleys, broken glass and cans can cause serious injury and trap you
  • You can get in, but can you get out? People often get into difficulty with steep sides and slimy banks
  • There may be hidden currents
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs when carrying out activities in our near water
  • Going to the beach? We advise you to go to a beach with a lifeguard. Be aware of which flag is flying as this will warn you of any dangers. Red and yellow flags means lifeguards are on patrol


  • Remember: Call, Tell, Throw
  • CALL - dial 999 and ask for the Fire & Rescue Service if inland or Coastguard if near the coast
  • TELL - Tell them to float on their back
  • THROW - Look for something that floats or that they could hold onto and throw it to them.
  • Do not enter the water yourself – you could also get into difficulty


  • Remember: Float to Live
  • Fight your instinct to thrash around – lean back and extend your arms and legs
  • Float until you can control your breathing
  • Only then, call for help, swim to safety or continue floating until help arrives
  • If you fall into the water unexpectedly, or get into difficulty, fight your instinct to thrash around. Instead, lean back, extend your arms and legs and float