WATER Safety Wales offers thoughts and condolences to those affected by the tragic events which took place on the River Cleddau last weekend.

Chris Cousens, chair of Water Safety Wales said: “We were saddened to learn of the events of last weekend which have highlighted the importance of being safe on and around water. The popularity of stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) has grown in recent years. To have an enjoyable and safe day SUPing we urge everyone to learn about how to be prepared and self-sufficient before heading out.”

Water Safety Wales is a collaboration of individuals, communities, charities, public and private sector organisations with an interest in water safety and drowning prevention. It aims to reduce water related deaths and incidents in Wales by promoting the importance of a consistent and effective approach to water safety.

Water Safety Wales encourages paddle boarders to ask –

Do I have the right gear?

Do I know what the weather and water conditions will be like?

Do I have the knowledge and skills for the day?

Top safety priorities are –

Know your limits. Be honest with yourself about you and your companions’ knowledge, fitness and ability. Only attempt a paddle if the conditions are within you and your group’s capabilities.

Check the latest forecast for your day – check the wind strength and direction again on arrival, avoid offshore winds and strong currents, river levels can rise and fall.

Wear a leash (attached correctly from your body to the board).Info on choosing the right kind of leash for your activity is here.

Wear a buoyancy aid and a wetsuit or insulating layers covered by a windproof jacket.

If you can, always go with a friend. If you are going out alone, always tell someone where you’re going and when you’ll be back.

Always carry a charged mobile phone in a waterproof pouch and keep it easily accessible. If you need help, call 999 and ask for Fire and Rescue Service (inland waters) or Coastguard (sea and coastal area)

Water Safety Wales reminds those heading out on the water this weekend to make safety their top priority.