Coastguards are warning about the dangers of tomb-stoning after concerns it is on the rise due to the warm weather.
The practice of jumping or diving from a height into water is a "high-risk activity" say Coastguards, with over 200 incidents, 70 injuries and 20 deaths in the UK since 2004.
Of those injured the youngest was 12 and the oldest was 45. Last year in Portreath, a serious accident resulted in someone suffering from broken limbs and the individual had to be rescued by the emergency services.
Tomb-stoning can be dangerous because:
• Water depth alters with the tide; the water may be shallower than it seems
• Submerged objects like rocks may not be visible; they can cause serious injury if you jump onto them
• The shock of cold water may make it difficult to swim
• Strong currents can rapidly sweep people away
James Instance from Falmouth Coastguard says: “Think before you get involved. Don't let alcohol; drugs or your friends affect your judgement. Even if you think you are jumping safely, children may be watching you and copy your actions.”
David Parker from Safer Cornwall says: "Safer Cornwall has just announced it's what will your drink cost? In some cases, young people are drinking alcohol in areas of Cornwall where tomb-stoning is popular. Mixing alcohol with water activities is particularly dangerous, and we would strongly advise young people to think about what it would be like if one of their friends were to be killed or seriously injured. We want young people to have fun, but please, avoid tomb-stoning and stay alive to enjoy next year.”
Local Cornwall Councillor Joyce Duffin says: “Portreath has a history of a few youngsters cliff jumping by the harbour. However, this recent spell of good weather has seen a much larger group than usual. Many of these people are from other parts of Cornwall or holiday makers who do not know the tides or realise the risks. People need to be aware of the dangers and recognise that there can be really tragic consequences.”
Paul Walker, Head of Cornwall Council Community Safety Service says: “The statistics show the devastating impact this high risk activity can have and I ask people to refrain from Tomb-stoning along the Cornwall coastline. Stay safe by accessing and enjoying the sea in designated areas where your safety is monitored by professional RNLI Lifeguards.”
Cornwall Council cabinet member for Homes and Communities Geoff Brown says: “Tomb-stoning can be potentially dangerous or even fatal and is a problem in many areas of the UK including inland waters. The message is clear if you do not know that the depth of the water is safe or you cannot see what is below the surface DON'T JUMP.”
Don't jump into the unknown.
More information is available on the Maritime and Coastguard Agency website.
If you want to report a dangerous incident, please call 999 and ask for the coastguard.