To get the best experience of this website, we recommend you upgrade your browser.

Upgrade your Internet Explorer

Durham County Council

Page location

Jumping into cold water can kill you


If the weather's hot and you're thinking about swimming in the river, or any other water, please make sure you know what the dangers are.

The shock of jumping into cold water can kill you - it's as simple as that. So please think twice.

Cameron's story

There is also a Dying to be Cool: Cameron's Story - video transcript (PDF, 56kb).

If you are having problems watching this video (for example if you're viewing from an Apple device) you can watch it directly on our YouTube channel.

Cameron Gosling was a 14 year old pupil at Parkside Academy in Willington when he went swimming with his friends in the River Wear near Bishop Auckland.

While his friends paddled in the river and acclimatised their bodies, Cameron jumped in. The cold water shocked his body and, despite his friends trying to save him, Cameron drowned.

Dying to be cool review video

Make sure this doesn't happen to you

Cameron's friends and family want to spread the word about cold water shock to try and make sure it doesn't happen to anyone else.

What is cold water shock?

When you're suddenly immersed in cold water, your body reacts involuntarily.

It can cause blood vessels in your skin to close making it harder for blood to flow around the body. Your heart then has to work harder and your blood pressure increases. In the worst cases you could even have a heart attack. 

There's also a "gasp" response which means you could breathe in water. The rate you breather can go up by as much as ten times.

All these reactions mean you can panic, get into difficulty and drown. Watch the video below for information.

Water safety video

How to stay safe near rivers and other stretches of water and more about our summer campaign to raise awareness of just one of those dangers - cold water shock.

There is also a Water safety video transcript (PDF, 58kb).

If you are having problems watching this video (for example if you're viewing from an Apple device) you can watch it directly on our YouTube channel.

 

Dangers of open water

There's more information about the dangers of open water and safety advice on the Stay safe in or near open water page.