Thursday, 21 May 2009


The Maritime and Coastguard Agency has started a campaign to warn against the danger of Tombstoning. This is a craze that has been around for some years, and involves (young) people jumping off cliffs or other high points into the water below. If you don't know what lies below the water's surface, you are literally playing with your life.

Mike Bill from Humber Coastguard said,

This sad loss [of a 17-year old on the coast near Humberside, AL] highlights the dangers of tombstoning and pier-jumping and our sympathies are with the family. Coastguard figures show this is the ninth coastal death in just two years but hundreds of incidents happen every year and many end in severe permanent injuries.

We advise people never to tombstone or pier-jump. Jumping from height into water is dangerous because water depth alters with the tide and it might be shallower than it appears, submerged objects like rocks and structures may not be visible, the shock of cold water can make it difficult to swim, plus strong currents can sweep people away.

This activity is becoming increasingly popular and although we realise we cant stop everyone who wants to participate in this activity, we urge people to use common sense and consider the advice on offer:

Think before you jump:

• Be aware of the depth of the water. Remember tides go in and out very quickly – it may start off deep enough but can quickly become shallower
• Be aware of hazards in the water. Rocks, groynes or debris 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
• Consider the risk to others. Young children may be easily influenced by the behaviour they witness.

(End of quote).

Further advice can be obtained from this page on the MCA website.

Please relay.


  1. It's a summer madness, for sure. Thrill seekers don't realise the damage they can do to themselves for just a moment's excitement.

  2. This was advice given to pupils when in their first year of secondary school mid sixties--its common sense; its a pity paren ts-(NOT ALL PARENTS---THIS IS NOT A RANT JUST COMMON SENSE)don't install the dangers to their kids,instead of leaving it to teachers,local authority etc to warn the kids of dangers. Putting up signs like above is good but surely the job of teaching/educating children is primarly the role of parents? With the summer season approaching its good ,arnish that you point this sign out,in case people are not aware of this problem

  3. From the moment I heard of this insane practice, I've pointed out the dangers on several websites I keep. MCA website is very useful for those living near the sea.

  4. but kids have always done this stuff, haven't they ... :-) whether its jumping in front of trains or chucking rocks at cars from a motorway bridge, or sniffing shoe-conditioner till you pass out (yes m'lud), or other completely stupid things ... isn't it just a 'rite of passage' ...?

    i'm not sure they'd suddenly decide not to do it just because it was pointed out to them that it was dangerous ...?

    apparently 'free-running' has its aficionados too - a sort of gymnastic dance involved whilst jumping from one tall building to another ... and they seem to be grown-ups ...!!

  5. If you check out the MCA site, you'll see some pics of kids, paralysed after tombstoning, saying they regret their own stupidity bitterly, and asking for everyone to be made aware. Kids will do daft things, and it's up to adults to make sure they are dissuaded. Adults carry their own responsibility for making a risk assessment of the situation (sorry, I shouldn't swear on-line)

  6. I agree with Soaplady ... it seems to be a 'rite of passage' ... daft, as most rites of passage are. Yes it is dangerous, but no matter how much teenagers are told by parents or teachers NO, they take no notice ... until a mate gets injured, then, and only then the lesson sinks in.

  7. Adults have to do their best, but kids have always done dangerous things. The warnings are very sensible and seem pretty clear to me, but anyone daft enough to jump off a cliff or pier into heaven-knows-what below isn't going to read the H&S guidelines first. If the warnings just stop one single accident, though, they will be worthwhile.
    Jumping off cliffs in Acapulco is one thing, Stornoway pier quite another :-)

  8. Wow..couldn't agree more with idea of Parent job to explain (meatily if necessary) huge danger of above and if a kid has that much of a death wish or desire to be crippled/maimed then they have big problem..........much rather my oiks were called loser or other teen mock/wind up than I had to visit them in rehab for next 6mths and arrange wheelchair-friendly house!!!!
    Great post as food for thought and useful reminder..cheers....RJG

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