The summer period led to thousands being turned away from open water spots in South Yorkshire and the tragic deaths of two people at Ulley Reservoir in Rotherham.

A freedom of information request has revealed that since January 2018 there have been 34 incidents where South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue services have attended a water incident in Rotherham.

Station Manager Steve Jones, who works within the joint fire and police-community safety department, said: “This summer alone we have seen a number of lives lost in open water across South Yorkshire, and indeed the wider region,” 

“Our thoughts remain with the family and friends of those who lose their lives. In our view, one drowning incident is one too many.

“Our message is clear – we want people to be safe around open water. We urge anyone who wants to do open water swimming to do it as part of an organised group, or with somebody who has experience in the water, at an organised and supervised site.

At Ulley Reservoir in Rotherham, South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue have responded to two callouts this year, both of which have resulted in the death of the person in the water. 

Sam Haycock, 16, tragically drowned at the Reservoir in May as he was out celebrating the end of Year 11. Sam’s family and friends have campaigned to raise awareness of the dangers of inland swimming and have teamed up with The Rotherham Current to launch Sign Up For Sam.

Another victim, 19-year-old Khizer Hayat, drowned at the Reservoir in September, just four months after Sam Haycock, leading to South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue issuing warnings about the Reservoir.

Mr Jones added: “We strongly discourage people from jumping into open bodies of water and do not condone anyone entering private land. Reservoirs are one example of this – they are generally private property and we advise people to listen to the requests, from companies such as Yorkshire Water [who run Ulley Reservoir], to stay out.”