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Tombstoning warning after pair have lucky escape in Brighton

Brighton RNLI has issued a warning about jumping into the sea from height after a lucky escape on Brighton beach.

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

The crew were stood down on route when it was confirmed both were OK.

Brighton RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager Roger Cohen MBE said the pair had a lucky escape as there was a low tide at the time.

The charity is taking this opportunity to remind people 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.

Roger 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.’The RNLI recently 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

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