By Bill Heaney
It was taps aff, swimming gear and wet suits on – maybe – as summer finally arrived in West Dunbartonshire and Argyll today.
Local people took to the water in Loch Lomond, the Clyde shore, Helensburgh and local rivers and canals.
But swimmers have been warned continuously over the past month to take care.
Jackie Baillie, left, has responded to figures showing that the number of drowning deaths each year in Scotland has remained broadly the same over the past decade.
Figures recently published by Water Safety Scotland show that 96 water-related fatalities were recorded in 2022 which reflects the three-year data average from statistics from 2013-15.
However in 2018, there were fewer deaths on the water with 78 people losing their lives.
Jackie Baillie said: “I welcome the commitment from Water Safety Scotland to reduce drowning fatalities in Scotland.
“The communities around Balloch, the Vale of Leven, Helensburgh and Lomond know all too well the tragedies which can occur as a result of drowning.
“These deaths are avoidable and the status quo should not be acceptable to the Scottish Government. Losing around 100 people in a year on our waterways is far too many.
“Of course, lessons should be learned from each loss but prevention is the real key.
“I urge the SNP Government to work closely with local authorities including bodies like Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority to make sure they have the resources to maintain life saving equipment and to keep signage up to date so people are made aware of the risks.
“There also needs to be greater investment in the likes of the Loch Lomond Rescue Boat to ensure they have the resources to be able to carry out their vital role quickly and safely meaning better outcomes for people who do get into difficulty.”
The Loch Lomond Rescue Boat crew are on call for emergencies.