Byline: Tombstoning: Don’t let it be you this bank holiday weekend
With two men left paralysed after tombstoning on the May Day weekend, the RNLI is urging people to think twice before taking part in this treacherous activity and is offering crucial safety advice for the forthcoming May bank holiday.
An increasing number of thrill-seeking beach-goers are trying out tombstoning (jumping from heights into water), but recent tragedies illustrate the sheer danger of this activity.
RNLI Head of Prevention and Lifeguards, Peter Dawes, says:
‘As an expert in beach safety, the RNLI charity always advises people never to tombstone – they wouldn’t expect to jump off a high-rise building and walk away, so they shouldn’t expect to if they try tombstoning.
‘Jumping from heights into water is so dangerous because water depth alters with the tide, so it might be shallower than it appears, submerged objects like rocks may not be visible, the shock of cold water can make it difficult to swim, plus strong currents can sweep people away rapidly.
‘In particular, we would urge parents to make sure their children are aware of the dangers and the safety advice we are offering. Unfortunately, this activity is becoming increasingly popular and, as recent cases have shown, what is intended to be a bit of fun can turn into tragedy.
‘We realise we can’t stop everyone who wants to participate in this activity, but we advise those that do to use their common sense and consider the advice we offer.’
Key points to consider are:
- Check the depth of the water. Remember tides go in and out very quickly – it may start off deep enough but can quickly become shallower
- Check for hazards in the water. Rocks and groynes under the sea may not be visible through the surface
- Never jump from any object into the sea while under the influence of alcohol or peer pressure
- As a rule of thumb, jumping from a height of ten metres requires a water depth of at least five metres
- Consider the risk to others. Young children may be easily influenced by the behaviour they witness.
As part of its annual beach safety campaign, the RNLI has published a new guide to beach safety, On The Beach, which is available free-of-charge by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 0800 328 0600. Copies will also be available from most RNLI lifeboat stations, RNLI lifeguards, Tourist Information Centres, service stations, Little Chef restaurants and selected tourist attractions.
The RNLI’s website, www.rnli.org.uk/beachsafety, also has plenty of practical advice and tips on how to stay safe.
Notes to editors
- RNLI spokespeople are available for interview or comment. Please contact RNLI Public Relations on the numbers below.
- This year, RNLI lifeguards will patrol 87 beaches across the southwest (Cornwall, Devon and Dorset), and eight beaches in Norfolk. For the first time, there will also be RNLI lifeguards guarding 12 beaches in Pembrokeshire.
- The RNLI is a registered charity, which exists to save lives at sea. It relies on voluntary contributions and legacies to ensure its lifeguards and volunteer crews have the very best training and equipment.
RNLI Public Relations contacts
For more information, please contact Laura Fennimore, RNLI Public Relations Officer on 01202 663181, email email@example.com or call the RNLI Public Relations office on 01202 336789.
The RNLI online