YOUNGSTERS are being urged to play safe near rivers, reservoirs and lochs this summer.

Water bosses say children and parents need to take care if they are near any bodies of water during the summer months after figures show 255 people drowned last year in the UK – with 46 of those in Scotland.

Scottish Water has launched a social media campaign #ReservoirSafety and wants to ensure no lives are lost to the waters this summer holiday.

Peter Farrer, Scottish Water’s chief operating officer, said: “While everyone should enjoy their school holidays or take pleasure in the country’s beautiful lochs, rivers and reservoirs, it’s absolutely vital thatthey stay safe at all times.

“Safety is a serious issue as, while the water may look harmless, there are many hidden dangers. We need to ensure children, and parents, are aware of these hazards. We are reminding parents to keep their children safe and asking adults to act responsibly around watercourses.”

In July 2012, 16-year-old K ilwinning teen Reece Sweeney was swimming with his friends in Banff when he was swept out to sea.

A massive air and sea search was launched immediately after he vanished, but his body was found washed up on the shore the following day.

Now, as the sixth anniversary of his death approaches, youngsters are still being warned of the dangers of water.

Dams, steep banks, spillways (overflows), deep cold water and underwater pipe work can present real hazards at reservoirs.

And the majority of Scottish Water’s reservoirs are situated in remote locations, meaning there is a lack of assistance and mobile reception can be poor.

Carlene McAvoy, community safety development officer for RoSPA Scotland, said: “One of the main dangers of open water is cold water shock, when the low temperature of water will affect the body’s normal functions and lead to someone getting into trouble. It can even affect the most confident swimmers. It’s important to remember that, even if it’s a hot day, the water can still be cold.