Nightswimmers face health, safety risks

00:59, Dec 18 2012
midnight swim
TAKING A RISK: Swimmers who trespass at night for a swim may be putting their safety - and wallet - at risk.

The days are longer, the nights are warmer - and that's inspiring some South Cantabrians to try their luck at trespassing for a swim, Timaru police say.

Timaru Boys High School recently reported problems with people jumping the pool fence for an illicit dip.

The issue kicked up since the nights have grown warmer, rector Kevin O'Sullivan said.

While it might be fun, would-be secret swimmers should remember that there could be consequences to their actions, he said.

''It's a private pool, it's not a public facility, and access can only be given under strict supervision from school officials,'' he said.

Senior Sergeant Mark Offen said it was a perennial problem, and one that could potentially result in criminal charges depending on the seriousness of the incident.


''We remind people that fences are around swimming pools for a reason,'' he said. ''If they decide to jump the fence to go for a swim, they could be subject to enforcement action.''

There are safety concerns, too, he said. For one thing, swimming unsupervised is always potentially dangerous - especially if alcohol is involved.

For another, many pools are treated with high doses of chemicals at night when they're not in use. Some are covered to retain heat, and a swimmer could easily become trapped under the cover.

TBHS has taken steps to increase its surveillance of the pool area because of the problem, Mr O'Sullivan said.

"We have a security camera up there now,'' he said. ''Hopefully that will serve as a deterrent.''

The Timaru Herald