South West heatwave sparks RNLI warning over 'tombstoning' after young man injured in Devon

100722 Tombstoning BPM Media
The warning has been issued after a young man was recently injured off torquay Credit: BPM Media

A life-saving charity is warning of the dangers of jumping into the water from a height, just days after a young man was injured while 'tombstoning' off cliffs in Torquay.

The RNLI is urging people to stay safe around waterways and the coast, as temperatures across the South West are continuing to rise this week.

It comes after the charity was called to the Devon coast on Saturday 9 July after a group of youngsters were spotted jumping from cliffs in Torquay.

One of them suffered a suspected leg injury after plummeting into the sea from a jagged cliff.

A spokesperson for the RNLI has since issued a warning 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."

They said people should take precautions and consider the following:

  • 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

The RNLI is also urging anyone visiting the coast this summer to make sure they keep themselves and their families safe.

The RNLI's beach safety advice

  • Visit a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags

  • Check the weather forecast, tide times and read local hazard signage to understand local risks

  • Keep a close eye on your family – on the beach and in the water – don’t allow your family to swim alone

  • If you fall into the water unexpectedly, fight your instinct to thrash around, lean back, extend your arms and legs, and float.

  • In an emergency dial 999/112 and ask for the Coastguard