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Enjoy the lakes in winter – safely

Enjoy the lakes in winter – safely

During the holiday season many of us will be out and about enjoying nature, especially around the Hamptons' scenic lakes.

But while relaxing, it pays to be alert to the hidden dangers of the winter wonderland – snow, ice and freezing water can be a deadly combination.

Every year people drown as a result of accidentally falling into open water, or falling through ice.

Snow can obscure the edges of lakes, so always take care not to get too close, and never venture out on to frozen lakes.

However tempting they look, there is no way to tell if the ice will hold your weight.

An analysis of 20 recent frozen water deaths found that in more than half of them, the victim was attempting to rescue another person or a dog.

If you see a person or animal fall through ice, don't rush out on to the ice to help, instead follow the advice given by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), see below.


Dogs are usually better than us at saving themselves – in the frozen water fatalities involving a dog rescue, typically the dog managed to scramble to safety, while its would-be rescuer did not.

You can avoid such a situation in the first place by keeping your dog on a lead near frozen lakes. And never throw sticks or balls on to the ice for your dog to retrieve.


Water can be a magnet for children at any time of year; make sure yours are aware of the dangers, and know what to do in an emergency.

If you see someone fall through ice, RoSPA advises:

  • Call the emergency services
  • Tell the person to stay still to save energy
  • Lie down on the bank, or have someone hold you securely, and reach out to the casualty using a pole, branch or rope If you can't find anything to reach out with, throw them out something that floats
  • Keep them talking until help arrives

There are throw lines attached to the red notice boards at the entrance to most lake areas in the Hamptons.

More information on keeping safe in the Hamptons can be found on the Hampton Outdoors page.