ASTANA – The Akimat (city administration) of Astana has issued a list of safety guidelines to coincide with the official June 1 launch of swimming season, reminding local swimmers that 14–25 people die in the water each year. Most accidents are due to swimming or boating while intoxicated and that nearly all fatal accidents occur in areas not designated for swimming, the akimat noted.
Though the beaches are now opened, the akimat warns that swimmers should remain cautious about air and water temperatures. “Beach season is opened every year on June 1,” the akimat reported. “It is better to swim in specially equipped places: beaches, pools and places patrolled by lifeguards. The acceptable lower temperature limit for safe swimming is as follows: water, 18 Celsius; air 22 C – for healthy, strong people. Swimming at such temperatures is dangerous … for children and people with weakened health,” it warned.
The water in the upper layer of the Yessil River, which runs through the capital, is currently only 15C, and the temperature of deeper waters is only 5–7C. “When swimming, especially diving in such water, convulsions, vascular spasms, reflex contractions of the respiratory muscles are possible, which can lead to fainting, respiratory failure and cardiac arrest,” the akimat said.
Last year, 25 people died in the water around Astana, the Water Rescue Service of the Astana Department of Emergency Situations reported, according to the Astana Akimat. Of these, 16 were swimming in unauthorized areas, and four had climbed into hydraulic facilities, they reported. This year, five deaths have already been reported, including someone who had climbed over a dam. Two of the dead so far this year are children. The akimat reports that up to three quarters of annual deaths are among people under 30, and 20–30 percent are children and adolescents.
Astana’s Water Rescue Service also issued some basic rules for swimming at public beaches this summer. They include warnings not to swim beyond designated areas, not to swim while intoxicated, not to swim or dive in unfamiliar areas, not to carry cameras or other objects into the water while swimming, not to dive from unauthorised areas and not to swim from embankments or dams.
Astana has two outdoor public pools and one river area designated for swimming.