A safe year for Manchester's waterways

Published: Tuesday, 31 December 2019

AFTER the many drowning in Manchester's waterways, 2019 has been free from any deaths.

Rochdale BarrierIt was appalling, with a reported 28 drownings in the city's waterways, particularly the Rochdale Canal, since 2007, there was the fear of a 'Manchester Pusher', being responsible, but all has been quiet this year.

Concrete barriers

During 2018 after the deaths, Canal & River Trust installed concrete barriers to prevent people walking across lock beams, and before this high fencing had been installed along Canal Street, were there are many pubs and clubs serving alcohol.

The premises, with one named 'Queer', are well known as a rendezvous for homosexuals, and are extremely busy well into the nights, when the drownings usually occurred.

Twice the proportion

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (Rospa) found there were 28 'open water' drownings since 2007, most in the city's canals, that is twice the proportion of alcohol-linked drownings than the rest of the UK, a report has shown.

ManchsterWalkSafelyThe report stated there was a 'confirmed or probable factor in two-thirds [of drownings] of all cases' were the result of alcohol.

During hours of darkness

The Manchester Water Partnership reported that 'an overwhelming number of these drownings happened during the hours of darkness'. These individuals, all bar two, were men and inebriation played a part in a significant proportion of the events that led to their deaths.

The partnership, which includes the city's police, fire service, council and a number of private landowners, had  attempted to restrict access to the canal towpaths at night, which had obviously paid off.