Friday 07 August 2020
Guernsey Coastguard is warning about the dangers of 'tombstoning' off coastal walls, harbour piers and the bailiwick coastline during the warmer weather in the summer holidays.
Tombstoning involves jumping off cliffs, seawalls and rocks into deep water, often during high tides.
Head of Guernsey Coastguard and Harbourmaster, Captain David Barker, said:
"We cannot over-emphasise how dangerous it can be to - quite literally - jump into the unknown. You can never tell what is hidden from view under the sea's surface. Not only hidden rocks, but also other objects could be floating below the surface or on the seabed. Just the impact with the water from enough height can cause serious injury. Tombstoning can have severe and life-threatening consequences. We are urging everyone to consider the risks to themselves and others. If you must jump into the sea, do it under the guidance of a qualified coasteering instructor."
Guernsey Coastguard is also urging parents or guardians to keep track of their children's activities.
Of particular concern is the sea wall at Havelet Bay on the Castle Emplacement, and tombstoning has been witnessed near the viewing areas next to the Guernsey Yacht Club, as well as into Herm harbour. In particular, swimming in St Peter Port harbour is prohibited, due to the risk from the high number of commercial and leisure vessels.
Captain Barker added:
"Look out for warning signs and do not jump into the unknown. The bays and harbours around the Bailiwick have tides that rise and fall as much as a two-storey building, and currents that move faster than an Olympic swimmer in some areas. We want everyone to enjoy our beautiful waters and coastline, but please be safe."
If any member of the public sees anyone near or in the water, who they believe to be in immediate danger call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.