Should there be regular swimming sessions in the docks?

By Rachel Bishop on August 22, 2014 8:00 AM |

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A couple of weeks ago, athletes took to the cold waters of Royal Victoria Dock in the London Triathlon, the same stretch of water that hosted this weekend's Rat Race.

But anyone looking to Canary Wharf's docks wishing to take a dip may have to wait a while, as construction works make it too dangerous.

John Brame (below right), director of open water swimming specialist RG Active, has been trying to persuade the Canal and River Trust to allow a lunchtime swim in the area for a number of years.

He said: "From talking with the trust in the past it seemed they were worried that if people saw others swimming in the water it would make them think that it was safe to jump in and swim at any time.

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"But I think it would make the area safer as there will be more activity around the water with people to help if needed.

"We teach about water safety, water confidence and provide an opportunity for people who want to swim in open water."

Canal and River Trust Docklands manager Gareth Stephens said one-off national events could be considered but with construction works it would be too dangerous to enter the water.

He said: "As you can appreciate the docks were not designed for leisure swimming and are potentially dangerous due to the depth of the water and the temperature - which is often freezing.

"Docklands is under construction and this again makes it a hazardous environment for swimmers even in small expert swimming groups.

"We are very happy to facilitate any significant or national events that are properly organised with a full safety plan that includes a start and finish time and approved route. As such we are happy to look at any future events that meet this criteria."

A Canary Wharf Group spokesman added: "Although we do encourage sporting activities, they would need to be considered carefully.

"The safety of people is of utmost importance and as we are still constructing it wouldn't be deemed safe. We would consider discussions afterwards however."

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