Public urged not to 'tombstone' into water as temperatures rise

Two people jump off a cliff at Durdle Door. Credit: PA

The RNLI has warned the public not to go 'tombstoning' as temperatures rise after an incident in Brighton.

The volunteer crew was called at 6.07pm last night (Thursday 14 July) to reports of two people in trouble after jumping off the west side of Brighton Palace Pier near the Albion Groyne.

Both people were confirmed as okay, but the RNLI says they had a lucky escape.

The charity says that Tombstoning is particularly dangerous as water depth can be unpredictable and alter with the tides.

The water may be shallower than the jumpers think and there are often hidden objects on the seabed.

Other dangers include the shock of cold water and unanticipated currents.

The incident happened around Brighton Pier. Credit: PA

Brighton RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager Roger Cohen MBE said:

"Jumping from piers and groynes, known as tombstoning, can be incredibly dangerous at any state of the tide for a number of reasons such as submerged rocks and strong currents.

"We realise that it’s tempting to jump from height into the water, especially with such great weather but submerged items may not be visible and could cause serious injury if you hit them.

"The shock of cold water may also make it difficult to swim and in some places strong currents might sweep you away."

A charity recently issued a warning across the UK saying:

"Whilst we'd never advocate people jumping from height into the water, if they do, there are things to consider to reduce the risk of injury."

For anyone who is thinking of 'tombstoning' the RNLI says they should consider following advice:

  • Water changes depth with the tide, so the water may be shallower than it looks

  • Submerged items may not be visible and can cause serious injury or paralysis if you hit them

  • The water can be a lot colder than it looks so the shock of cold water may make it difficult to swim

  • Always check for hazards in the water like submerged rocks

  • People should never enter the water while under the influence of alcohol, drugs or peer pressure

  • Important to check for access because it may be impossible to get out of the water

  • Coasteering with a registered company is a safer alternative