Message of prevention from navigable waterways in France

The French Ministry of Waterways and the Ministry of Sports, Olympics and Paralympics has begun the third season of the #Coule pastonété campaign. At Nord-Pas-de-Calais, there is a real risk of drowning. Young people are especially exposed to it.

Accidental drowning in waterways is a major cause of accidental death in adolescents’ daily lives. The heat waves that are now hitting Nord-Pas-de-Calais, more generally France, are worried about authorities and the Voies navigables de France (VNF). In the Alpes Maritimes, four people were drowned in just 48 hours.

The Ministry of Sport, the Olympic and Paralympic Games, VNF has launched #Coulepastonété for fear of a surge in swimming in most or inappropriate places. Awareness campaign on the risk of drowning in rivers, canals and rivers.

“Swimming in rivers and navigable canals is a bad idea,” warns Bonjour Lille / Littoral guest Olivier Matrat, director of the French waterways of Nord-Pas-de-Calais this Friday.

In Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Voies navigables de France manages 670 km. A considerable distance with a very high risk of drowning. And, for good reason, Olivier Matrat first remembers that these lanes allow boats to pass.

However, “The barge is a metal wall 11.40 meters wide and 4 meters high, which reminds me of the area manager. It arrives at the swimmer at 9 km / h and never stops. There is a risk of injury. “

The sides of the houseboat are also dangerous for swimmers. Indeed, locks and other dams can trap even experienced swimmers. Automated structures, unpredictable movements: These mechanisms can squeeze, suck, or attract swimmers to streams or the bottom of rivers.

Stone blocks, metal piles, branches

In addition to these barge-related vocabulary areas, “water hides formidable traps for divers.” Blocks of stone, metal rods, branches, or pieces of wood can lie at the bottom of the waterway. Even more dangerous is the existence of a car accident.

“Every year, 40-60 debris is removed from the Nord-Pas-de-Calae waterways,” says Olivier Matrat.

Also, if you think you’ve thoroughly inspected your funds before dipping, you may have an error. Indeed, the waterways are very shallow. Risk for divers who want to get their heads in fresh water first.

Finally, “the banks of rivers and canals are steep or even vertical,” warns Olivier Matrat. Therefore, difficult swimmers have difficulty getting out of the water alone, and rescue service interventions are inevitably affected.

Nord-Pas-de-Calais has a safe place to cool off

The risk of drowning exists, but it is not ubiquitous. Pools and lakes with supervised swimming are everywhere to satisfy your diving cravings. For waterways not maintained by Voies navigables de France, Olivier Matrat advises you to first go to the National Tourism Board or the municipality to see if swimming is permitted.

Finally, it’s quite possible to cool off with Nord-Pas-de-Care without getting the jersey wet. “There are many activities that can be offered and carried out safely,” says the director. Paddles, canoes, kayals, and even walks along the Sambre Canal are just a few of the examples detailed on this page.