WITH temperatures soaring across Scotland, people are being urged to take extra care around open water.

An amber heat warning is in force across parts of Scotland with thousands of people expected to visit coasts and lochs with record-breaking temperatures hitting.

Meteorologists said Scotland’s highest recorded temperature of 32.9C (91.2F) could be topped this week, with 36C predicted in Jedburgh on Tuesday. 

The warning is currently in place until midnight on Tuesday.

The latest figures show that Scotland had the highest accidental drowning rate across all the UK nations last year.

READ MORE: Extreme heat causes electrical fault between Glasgow and Hyndland

The Scottish Government recently published a water safety action strategy in March in a bid to cut drowning deaths in half by 2026.

On Monday, a 16-year-old boy became the fourth person to drown in open water in the UK since temperatures began increasing.

The teenager died after getting into difficulty in Bray Lake, near Maidenhead in Berkshire.

A 13-year-old boy also lost his life in the River Tyne in Northumberland whilst another 16-year-old drowned in Salford Quays. 

A 50-year-old man also died after swimming in a reservoir near Leeds.

What is cold water shock?

Even the most confident of swimmers can get into difficulties.

Cold water shock causes the blood vessels in the skin to close, which increases the resistance of blood flow.

As a result, the heart is forced to work harder and your blood pressure goes up which can lead to heart attacks, even in the young and healthy.

The sudden cooling of the skin can also cause involuntary gasping for breath which contributes to a feeling of panic and increases the chance of inhaling water directly into the lungs.

What's the current advice?

Speaking to The National, The Royal National Lifeboat Institution's Michael Avril said: "It’s important to remember that even though the weather is warmer, the water can still be significantly cold, so it is vitally important to guard yourself against cold water shock.

"The effect on the body of entering water 15°C and below is often underestimated. This shock can be the precursor to drowning. Remember to Float to Live if you get into trouble."

The National has also spoken with Water Safety Scotland's Carlene McAvoy who said: "Due to the current heatwave we are issuing a warning to people across Scotland to keep safe whilst at or near the water. 

"Jumping unexpectedly into cold water can lead to cold water shock and can lead to drowning.

"We therefore recommend you to keep safe and follow the water safety code."