Stay safe around water

Stay safe around open water in Lee Valley Regional Park

Visitors to the Lee Valley might feel it looks enticing to enter our open water during warm and hot weather, however people do drown as it can be so cold even on hot summer days. The lakes and waterways of Lee Valley Regional Park can be enjoyed from a distance and do not to put yourself or others at risk by ignoring safety advice. 

Many of our water bodies used to be gravel pits and in many case there are shallow shelves dropping without notice into very deep water, there are also underwater obstructions as well as thick aquatic vegetation as part of the natural environment and many unseen underwater currents.

Rangers from Lee Valley Regional Park Authority and community safety service Parkguard will maintain a high presences throughout the Park and are able to give advice however please read the below information before you head out in our open spaces. It is also a Byelaw offence to enter into any water within the Regional Park so please follow our advice:

  • Think SAFEStay Away From the Edge
  • Do not go in to the water under any circumstances – NO PADDLING, NO SWIMMING AND NO WATER CRAFT!
  • Do not go into the water to rescue wildlife or pets, as they are normally able to get themselves out
  • Do not take unnecessary risks in or around water bodies
  • Do read and take notice of warning signs. Think about the hazards near to and at the water’s edge, banks can be slippery when wet. If you fall in, it may be difficult to get out
  • Do not assume because you can swim in a pool that you can deal with the challenges of open water swimming
  • Do not consume alcohol in or around water bodies as it may seriously impair your ability and judgment
  • Do keep your dogs on a lead when near water for their safety.


  • Do discuss the dangers of playing near open water, so children are aware
  • Do make sure you know where your children are while out in the Park
  • Do not leave children unsupervised near ponds, rivers, lakes or other bodies of water

Float to Live : if you're in trouble in cold water 

  • Fight your instinct to thrash around 
  • Lean back, extend your arms and legs 
  • If you need to, gently move your arms and legs to help you float 
  • Float until you can control your breathing 
  • Only then call for help or swim to safety 
  • Please take a moment to watch this video

If you see someone get into trouble:

  • Call the emergency services 999
  • Do not attempt to go out into the water yourself
  • Tell the person to ‘keep still’ to maintain heat and energy, and offer reassurance to keep them calm
  • Try finding something which will extend your reach, such as a rope, pole, clothing tied together or a branch
  • Ensure you are stable on the bank either by lying down or having someone hold on to you and reach the  object out and pull them in
  • If you cannot find something to reach with, try using an object that will float and throw that out to them
  • Once the person has been rescued, keep them warm by covering them with warm clothing, blankets etc. Do not undress them until they are in a warm place
  • Do not rub their skin and do not give an alcoholic drink
  • The casualty must go to hospital even if they appear to be unaffected
  • Continue to reassure the casualty and keep them talking until help arrives

Further tips and advice

Always let others know where you walking and wear appropriate clothing when out in the park 

Be aware of your surroundings, nearby access routes or names of car parks should you need to provide location information to emergency services

A number of our bridges are labelled with reference codes that can be provided to emergency services to help them locate you

To report non-emergency concerns or feedback to Lee Valley Regional Park please either call 03000 030 610 between 08:00 - 17:00 or 01992 210 196 between 17:00 - 08:00 

Alternatively, send a text to Rangers with your message to 62277 – please include the site location and nature of the issue you are reporting (note that this is not monitored 24/7) 


Staying safe around water


We are running a trial of what3words in River Lee Country Park. This app locates you with astonishing accuracy. It has divided the entire world into 3m x 3m squares and given each one a unique three word code. You can download the app here. It is particularly useful if you need help in the park where it can be difficult to guide Emergency Services to exactly where you are. 
Some Emergency Services use what3words. Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service already use it and Hertfordshire Police are trialing it.
If you download the app and need help, you’ll be able to give the Emergency Services your exact location. We are backing this up with what3words signage in key places in River Lee Country Park.  
If you need to call for emergency assistance, ask the operator if they use what3words and give them your location either via the app or from one of the what3words signs in the park. 

Robbie Lea Water Safety Partnership

Lee Valley Regional Park Authority is part of this important partnership set up in the wake of the tragic death of teenager Robbie Lea in a lake in the Regional Park in May 2017. 
The partnership was inspired by the efforts of Robbie’s mother, Sarah, to raise awareness of water safety issues. It brings a group of agencies and individuals together to support and enhance water safety education initiatives. The partnership is focusing its efforts on the borough of Broxbourne, and so far, over 4,000 young people have been engaged through assemblies and practical water safety demonstrations at secondary schools throughout the Borough and initiatives have the potential to be shared in the future across Hertfordshire and Essex.
The partnership has also successfully delivered annual multi-agency community safety events at Lee Valley White Water Centre which has gained extensive press and media coverage from many regional and national outlets. In 2018 Partnership was awarded the ‘Innovation in Public Service and Community Focus’ award at the Hertfordshire Constabulary Chief Constable Awards and also the ‘Community Safety Initiative of the Year’ accolade at last year’s HEART awards. The partners involved are:




Stay safe water summer


To report any of the following:

  • unruly or dangerous behaviour in and around water
  • accidents, incidents or near misses
  • wildlife trapped on/in the water                                          

For any incidents call 03000 030 610 between 08:00 - 17:00
or 01992 210 196 between 17:00 - 08:00

In an emergency call 999
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