The RNLI and Bridgend Council have issued a warning about 'tombstoning' - jumping into water from a height - after an accident in Porthcawl

The RNLI and Bridgend Council have issued a warning about jumping into the water from a height, which is also known as ‘tombstoning’.

The warning has been issued after a man injured himself on Monday 19 June after jumping into shallow waters at Porthcawl, Wales.

The man, in his 30s, suffered a broken ankle and cuts to his feet after jumping into shallow water off the slipway at Porthcawl Harbour.
He thought the waters were deep enough when he jumped 6-7 foot from above, but the depth was only 4 foot and he hit the rocks below and injured himself.

Porthcawl RNLI, the Coastguard Search and the Rescue team attended the scene.

Helm Carl Evans, who as a volunteer lifeboat crew member is fully first aid trained, attended the scene and stabilised the casualty, who had managed to swim to the bottom of the slipway.

Evans and fellow Porthcawl RNLI Helm Simon Emms, stabilised the man’s leg and treated his lacerations before administering oxygen until paramedics arrived.

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Porthcawl RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager Phil Missen said: “This incident reminds us how dangerous jumping into water from height – or tombstoning – can be.

“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 also be a lot colder than it looks so the shock of cold water may make it difficult to swim.

“It’s really important that people think about the possible dangers. We want people to be in a position to make better, more informed choices to keep themselves and others safe.

“Coasteering with a registered company may be a safer alternative. Anyone considering jumping into the sea from height should always check for hazards in the water like submerged rocks, check the depth of the water knowing that, for example, a jump of 10m requires a depth of at least 5m. People should never jump while under the influence of alcohol, drugs or peer pressure. Also it is important to check for access because it may be impossible to get out of the water.”

A spokesman for Bridgend County Borough Council also commented: “We’re very keen to highlight the dangers of jumping into unknown waters. In Porthcawl, anyone leaping into the sea off the breakwater or slipway is also very near to Porthcawl Marina and therefore could be potentially putting themselves into the path of boats that are coming in and out of the marina. We cannot emphasise enough how dangerous this is.”