Police and fire service urge people to be safe around the River Ness in Inverness
PEOPLE are being urged to be mindful of the potential dangers of entering the River Ness.
Police Scotland, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and Highland Council are encouraging people to treat the river with respect at all times.
It follows recent incidents on the river, including a man who had to be rescued near Bught Park on June 8.
He was taken to Raigmore Hospital and suffered no serious injuries.
The fire service and police have attended 17 water-related incidents so far in 2019 in the Highland area – seven of which involved rescues in Inverness.
Sergeant Julie Connor, of the Inverness city centre policing team, said: "The River Ness is an iconic and beautiful feature in Inverness but it needs to be treated with respect.
"The river is fast flowing and cold so anyone who enters it can quickly be overwhelmed.
"Many incidents which result in people entering the river come after the consumption of alcohol. In many places the banks of the river are steep and it is possible to accidentally fall into the river, especially if you have been drinking.
"Being under the influence of alcohol reduces your ability to react safely so please be careful around the water if you have been drinking.
"We want people to be able to enjoy the riverside safely – what starts out as a bit of fun could easily end with tragic consequences if care isn't taken."
Deryck Mackay, Inverness city fire station manager said: “We have noticed an increase in the number of people going into the River Ness after a night out.
"So far in 2019 over 40 per cent of our water-related incidents have involved water rescue in the city.
“Alcohol consumption can impair your judgement and control and going into a river at night when its dark also makes it difficult for you to be seen.
"Cold water shock is a real danger, especially in the cold water of the River Ness, and you can quickly find yourself in trouble. Our advice is stay out of the water.”
Inverness Provost Helen Carmichael said: "Sensible and safe enjoyment of the river environment is important and the Inverness Community Safety Partnership is committed to ensuring that all agencies work collaboratively to ensure that the health and safety of all of us remains of high importance.
"This initiative by one of our key partners is a good example of that commitment.
"Also from time to time the council places closure notices at the Infirmary Bridge and Ness Islands for public safety reasons and we would ask people to take heed of these notices for their own safety.”