Wigan company has lifesaving equipment installed in dangerous waterways

A demonstration of the line being used at Greenbooth Reservoir
A demonstration of the line being used at Greenbooth Reservoir

A Wigan firm’s lifesaving equipment has been installed at the sites of drowning tragedies in a bid to prevent further fatalities.


Reach and Rescue’s throwline boards have been put in place at open water areas across Lancashire and Greater Manchester, with each one dedicated to someone who has lost their life to the water.

One of the throwlines installed at Greenbooth Reservoir

One of the throwlines installed at Greenbooth Reservoir

The boards hold key life-saving advice on them as well as accurate location details in the event that the emergency services need to be contacted.

The boards also contain a locked canister, which is accessed by a code given to the caller by fire control room operators, containing a whistle and throw line which gives people a means of assisting someone in trouble without risking entering the water themselves.

The boards are bespoke to their location and contain a unique location code so that emergency services can locate the incident as quickly as possible.

Reach and Rescue, which is based in Worthington Way, has had 20 of its throwlines installed at eight reservoirs, with an official launch taking place at Greenbooth Reservoir in Rochdale.

Following the launch, the company said: “Our goal has always been to make Britain’s open water areas safer by saving the lives of those in difficulty whilst minimising the risk to the rescuer.

“The launch is a huge step closer to making this goal a reality.

“In recognising that there is a serious need for more effective measures to increase reservoir safety and safeguard members of the public from drowning in their reservoirs, United Utilities have taken the first step by choosing to install the Reach and Rescue Throwline Boards.”

The boards are part of a collaboration effort between Reach and Rescue with United Utilities, the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service and Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, as part of their Be Water Aware campaign.

The initiative is an annual drive by national emergency services to increase water safety across the country.

Area Manager Paul Etches from Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service said: “We are really pleased to be working on this safety campaign with partners to help raise awareness of the throwline boards which have recently been installed at seven locations across Greater Manchester where people have lost their lives.

“Our firefighters are trained in water rescue but sometimes it just isn’t possible to get to people in time to save them.

“We have sadly seen 17 people drown Greater Manchester in the last three years alone, with many others suffering injuries.

“As the warmer weather approaches we want to remind people about the dangers that come with swimming in reservoirs and other open water.

“The throwlines can buy valuable time and help people keep their head above the water until firefighters arrive to help, however, we urge people to stay out of the water – it can be very deep and cold enough to cause shock and even the strongest swimmers can find themselves in difficulties.”