Skip to content
Dangers, threats and risks on lakes and ponds

Dangers in the bathing lake - 10 risks of stagnant waters that everyone should know about

You want to know more about the dangers in the swimming lake? Then you've come to the right place. The swimming season is upon us! There's nothing more fun and beautiful than hanging out at cool lakes and swimming in them when the temperatures are hot. But unfortunately, behind all the fun and beauty of standing waters, there are also countless dangers that can even be fatal. Since, according to the DLRG, at least 299 people drowned₁ in Germany in 2021, it is all the more important to be aware of the risks in and around water.

With this article, I would like to make you aware of the biggest sources of danger at swimming lakes. You will now learn what you have to watch out for and which risks are unfortunately ignored or totally underestimated by many people. Let's go!

  1. Not informed about the water body
  2. Steeply sloping banks
  3. Overestimation of own swimming abilities
  4. Suction force of passing boats
  5. Panic moments
  6. Temperature jumps
  7. Alcohol and drug use
  8. Caught in creepers
  9. Pollutant inputs
  10. Physical problems

My please: Be sure to share this article with other people to protect them from possible dangers at swimming lakes. Thank you!

1. not informed about the water body

Dangers at bathing lakes - Not informed about lake

Unknown waters are especially dangerous! Be aware that every lake is different - and that there are differences between urban, mountain and quarry lakes or ponds. Find out more about the lake on the Internet or on site and look for signs. only at well accessible and supervised bathing places into the water. Fatal swimming accidents occur there only in the rarest of cases. If you have any doubts about a body of water, just sit on the shore and rather enjoy the Time in the fresh air, instead of going swimming there.

Tip: Speaking of bodies of water. Did you know that you can Do not feed ducks should? Read the linked article to find out why it makes sense.

2. steeply sloping banks

As a rule, it is hardly possible to see where exactly the break-off edge begins, where the shore of a lake suddenly drops off quite steeply. Especially for non-swimmers this can become a deadly danger. Last but not least, muddy banks can also slide off and you can get stuck in the mud yourself. So always be aware of the point at which you can no longer stand - and carefully familiarize yourself with the water.

3. overestimation of swimming abilities

Where else are there great dangers lurking in the swimming lake? There is also an incredibly great risk to life and limb if you overestimate your own abilities (or the abilities of your children). Carelessness, overestimation of one's own capabilities, or general misjudgements are a common cause of death in German waters.

This is the case, for example, when someone wants to swim from one side of the lake to the other side, has no more strength after half the distance and chokes on the water. Be clear about one thing: a seahorse on your swimsuit is good, but it won't save anyone. Therefore try not to go swimming alone if possibleto always have a helping hand if you misjudge.

A potentially life-saving tip: Some lakes are huge and at certain times there is hardly a soul on site to help. On top of that, swimming accidents often happen silently as well. Personally, I now always use such a mobile floating buoy* to be safe on the road. It keeps me on the surface of the water in case of emergency and absolutely does not interfere with swimming.

4. suction force of passing boats

On larger, stagnant inland waters such as bathing lakes, there is usually no dangerous current - nevertheless, fast and large boats sometimes sail there. One of the dangers that is often underestimated here is the current in the water at high speeds. increased swell, as well as the resulting suction force.

Therefore, stay as far away as possible from all watercraft to avoid getting into life-threatening situations. If something like this should happen to you, then try to with targeted swimming strokes to get out of the danger zone with the resulting water rollers.

5. panic moments

Panic moments in the water

As idyllic and calm as many a lake may seem, every now and then an unexpected panic situation can arise in which you can Control loses. For many people, touching a fish, a long algae or swallowing a mosquito, for example, is enough for this. However, there are basically hundreds of possible triggers for panic reactions. For example, you might be swimming with your child on your back and he or she unintentionally squeezes your neck.

Regardless of the trigger, the important thing is to remains as calm as possibleas rowing around wildly usually increases the danger even more. Also, being aware that such dangerous situations arise suddenly and unexpectedly can save lives.

Tip: On the lake, but also in your usual everyday life, you can get panicky from time to time. How you How to deal with panic attacks naturally you can find out now in the linked article.

6. temperature jumps

Especially at the beginning of the swimming season, the temperatures in lakes are very different. Colder water layers have a higher density and are therefore below the areas with slightly warmer water temperatures. If you now suddenly find yourself in colder water due to a head dive, a deeper dive or an "ass bomb", you may unknowingly jump directly into a dangerous situation, as the abrupt cooling now and then leads to cramps, dizziness or even cardiovascular collapse.

So just putting your foot in the water for a moment doesn't have too much significance - water temperatures differ and harbor unexpected dangers. It is exactly the same, when you have been in the sun for a long time and then jump into the cold water from one second to the next. Also try to avoid such a sudden cooling and possible circulatory problems by wetting your body with the cool water in advance and then gently getting into the water.

7. alcohol and drug use

Person- and behavior-related dangerous situations in bathing lakes are particularly frequent due to the consumption of drugs. Especially the consumption of alcohol in a group often leads to Cockiness and overconfidence. Daredevilry, swimming competitions or diving as deep as possible, for example, can become an enormous danger, as misjudgement and uncontrolled behavior increase in step with the blood alcohol level.

8. caught in creepers

Even getting caught in a creeping plant that prevents you from swimming further can lead to a panicked reaction and become a hazard in the swimming lake. There are, of course, no aggressive plants that grab you and pull you down -. As a rule, it is really "only" the panic caused by the tangling of the foot that becomes a danger.. In such moments, keep calm, slowly brush off the plant strands and try to free yourself from the threatening situation by swimming vigorously (using only your arms).

9. pollutant inputs

Also Garbage, toxic wastewater, manure from fields, as well as blue-green algae, multi-resistant germs, viruses and fecal bacteria. can find their way into bathing lakes, pose a health hazard and, for example, trigger an (allergic) reaction that may become life-threatening. A lot of subjunctive, of course. But pollutant inputs must not be underestimated either.

10. physical problems

Dangers at the swimming lake - Physical problems

We had just talked about rapid temperature changes - they can basically endanger anyone. But they are particularly dangerous for (older) people with pre-existing conditions, such as Cardiovascular complaints. In addition, when muscles become hypothermic, often unexpected cramps can quickly occur that could maneuver you into a life-threatening situation. Also, if you swim for long periods of time and exert yourself, you risk sudden onset of cramps and dangerous situations.

Try again in such moments Keep calm and get to the shore. If you are still a little further from it, then get into the supine position and stretch the corresponding muscle until the cramp subsides.

Know and avoid dangers in the bathing lake!

Most of the above risks and dangers you will probably and hopefully never encounter in your life - also because you are prepared and know them. You now know that you don't have to be afraid of the inhabitants of a lake so much as of sudden temperature changes or your own behavior in stressful situations. Be aware of the dangers - and thus minimize the risks.

One more thing: Also, please never let your children out of your sight at the lake until they are safe swimmers. They, in particular, are the ones who often drown silently because the so-called glottis contracts and they can no longer scream or call for help. You should also be aware that drowning people have difficulty waving. But you can recognize them, for example, by the way their hair hangs in front of their eyes, they gasp for air and tilt their head back.

I sincerely hope that this article has made you aware of the dangers in swimming lakes. Be aware of the risk to protect yourself and other people.

Stay healthy,

Christoph from CareElite - Plastic-free living

PS.: Did you know that you can also take a comparatively harmless but extremely relaxing bath in the forest? At Forest bathing I will now explain what I mean by this.

₁ German Lifesaving Society (DLRG): Drowning statistics 2021, available at [20.06.2022].

Coffee box Suggestions for improvement Newsletter

* Links with asterisks are so-called Affiliate links. If you click on it and buy something, you automatically and actively support my work with, because I get a small share of the sales revenue - and of course the product price does not change. Thank you for your support and best regards, Christoph!


Christoph Schulz

I'm Christoph, an environmental scientist and author - and here at CareElite I'm campaigning against plastic waste in the environment, climate change and all the other major environmental problems of our time. Together with other environmentally conscious bloggers, I want to give you tips & tricks for a naturally healthy, sustainable life as well as your personal development.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *