Loch Lomond bosses are probing a record number of water safety breaches - in a tragic year which saw 'one of the worst weekends' in the park's history with four deaths.

Connor Markward, 16, died on Friday, July 23 while playing with friends in the loch near Balloch Country Park, West Dunbartonshire.

The following day, Edina Olahova, 29, Rana Haris Ali, nine, and Muhammad Asim Riaz, 39, died after getting into difficulty in the water off Pulpit Rock, near Ardlui, Argyll and Bute.

At the time Gordon Watson, Chief Executive of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority, said: "This has undoubtedly been one of the worst weekends in the National Park’s history."

According to a report, there have been 403 alleged byelaw breaches since the beginning of January 2021 far this year, compared to a previous high of 247 in 2018.

The report also sets out the actions taken by the park authority and its partners following the tragedies, including that signs and public rescue equipment (PRE) were upgraded at a number of key locations.

A new water safety advice page was added to the National Park’s website, and water safety training was held with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, the RNLI and Education Scotland.

The report found that users of jetskis and similar ‘personal watercrafts’ accounted for 177 of the 403 alleged byelaw breaches recorded by rangers from the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park since the beginning of January 2021.

The data was revealed in a report on visitor management across Loch Lomond and the Trossachs, prepared by national park officials.

The alleged breaches this year were against 357 registered loch users.

The report says: “The majority of offences related to speeding, display of annual marks and registration numbers or failure to register.

“Personal watercraft like jet-skis accounted for 44 per cent of contraventions, followed by motor cruisers (17 per cent) and speedboats (15 per cent).

“To date, six cases have been reported and one is pending report to the procurator fiscal by the National Park Authority for alleged contraventions of the Loch Lomond byelaws.”

The report is due to be considered by members of the park authority's board on Monday, December 13.

Simon Jones, director of environment and visitor services at Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority, said: “There has been a significant increase in people enjoying water activities and supporting them to enjoy the water bodies of the National Park safely and responsibly is of the utmost importance to us.

“The Loch Lomond byelaws are in place to ensure that everyone who enjoys the loch – whether paddling, swimming, sailing or on a jet ski – does so safely and shows respect for others in or on the water.

"In line with the increase in people enjoying the water there was an increase in the number of people spoken to about the byelaws.

“Throughout the summer, National Park Rangers patrolled shorelines and lochs every day giving advice to thousands of visitors and worked closely with Police Scotland and Scottish Fire And Rescue on joint patrols and events, taking enforcement action where necessary.

“Following a series of tragic incidents in the water, the National Park Authority and partners accelerated their joint work on water safety with a number of additional measures and actions undertaken.

"These included additional signage and Public Rescue Equipment, training and increased communications to raise awareness of water safety advice.”