14/09/2009

Warning Following 'Tombstoning' Video

Stornoway Coastguard have issued a warning against 'tombstone' or pier-jumping following concerns over a video on the Youtube website depicting three local teenagers jumping from 70ft cliffs in to the sea.

The coastguard said jumping from height into water is dangerous because water depth alters with the tide and it might be shallower than it appears, while submerged objects, like rocks and structures, may not be visible. The shock of cold water can make it difficult to swim and can induce a condition known as secondary drowning, plus strong currents can sweep people away.

The coastguard said that tombstoning is becoming increasingly popular and although they realise they can't stop everyone who wants to participate in this activity, they 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 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
  • If anything goes wrong, other people have to put their lives at risk to save yours
Western Isles Sector Manager Carl Taylor said: "HM Coastguard absolutely condemns this irresponsible activity as it's been shown numerous times throughout the country to have tragic consequences. The last thing we want is to have to send a Coastguard Rescue Team, Lifeboat or Helicopter to rescue a person who has been needlessly injured or worse whilst participating in this activity."

(GK/KMcA)

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