Tombstoning is an activity which involves individuals jumping into water from height; so-called because of the way a person falls and plunges into deep water, similar to the way a tombstone would. Unfortunately over recent years this activity has gained attention via social media and has increased in popularity, resulting in several people – mainly young people - being seriously injured or tragically losing their lives.
What is the risk?
Tombstoning offers a high-risk, high-impact experience but it can have severe and life-threatening consequences. This is because:
- Water depths alter with the tide – the water may be shallower than it seems
- Submerged objects like rocks may not be visible – these can cause serious impact injuries
- The shock of cold water can make it difficult to swim
- Getting out of the water is often more difficult than people realise
- Strong currents can rapidly sweep people away
How to minimise the risk
- Check for hazards in the water. Rocks or other objects may be submerged and difficult to see
- Check the depth of the water. Remember tides can rise and fall very quickly
- As a rule of thumb, a jump of ten metres requires a depth of at least five metres
- Never jump whilst under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Check for access. It may be impossible to get out of the water
- Consider the risks to yourself and others. Conditions can change rapidly – young people could be watching and may attempt to mimic the activity. And, if you jump when you feel unsafe or pressured, you probably won't enjoy the experience
Please visit the NWSF pages on coasteering and tombstoning