Emergency services and water safety experts have now issued a plea for people to stop recklessly risking their lives and to stay out of the lake in Wath.
Site supervisor Trevor Coldron, 53, said: “I have been out in the rescue boat about ten times in the last few weeks, and was out every day for three months’ solid last year to try and get people out of the water.
“They do not realise they are putting their lives at risk. Even if you are a good swimmer, once the cold water hits you it can cause cramp and you can quickly get into difficulty. Cold water kills.”
The father-of-three, of Wentworth Road, Wath, added that some people have even been abusive towards him when he has been trying to help them out of the lake.
“It is mainly young lads aged from 18 to their early 20s. Some of them go in after having a few beers, which is very dangerous. I can’t repeat what they say but they can get very abusive.”
The most recent tragedy at the lake happened in June 2010 when Philip Law, 15, from Rawmarsh, was dragged under by currents forming a whirlpool. This followed the deaths of Goldthorpe teen Adam Peterson, 18, in 2005, and Wath’s Darren Baggley, 15, in 1997. In all three cases they had been swimming with friends before getting into difficulty due to the cold water.
Philip’s mum Samantha, from Rawmarsh, could not be contacted this week but she has echoed safe swimming warnings in the past.
At the scene of her son’s death in 2012, she said: “It may feel warm outside, but the water is still cold. It can put your system into shock.
“You never expect your kids to go before you do. We don’t want to see another child or adult lose their life at any of our waterways.”
The heartbroken mum now helps the police and fire service with presentations in schools about water safety. Lifebuoys sited around the lake feature pictures of Philip to help bring home the warning message.
Mark Benton, chair of Manvers Waterfront Boat Club, urged youngsters to join the club for organised activities if they want swim in the lake.