Tombstoning

Last updated

Tombstoning is the act of jumping in a straight, upright vertical posture into the sea or other body of water from a high jumping platform, such as a cliff, bridge or harbour edge. [1] This posture of the body, resembling a tombstone, gives the activity its name. [2] A safety advisory from the Government of the United Kingdom records that tombstoning has been taking place for "generations"; however, it is under increasing media and public scrutiny due to wider coverage of the risks involved. [3]

Contents

Risks

Due to the hazards involved, both from the risk of hitting water from great height and that posed by unforeseen underwater hazards such as rocks, debris and shallow water, tombstoning has become a controversial activity. The practice has received increasing media attention in the United Kingdom, with the UK Coastguard recording 139 injuries, with 20 deaths, between 2004 and 2013, including children aged 12 or older. [4] [5] Two males aged 17 and 20 have been left paralysed. [2] In 2013 and 2014 the BBC recorded further fatalities in Cumbria, [1] and several injuries in Dorset. [6] In May 2014 the Maritime and Coastguard Agency released a safety document regarding tombstoning in conjunction with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents. [3]

Response

Safety measures

The increasing number of injuries and deaths attributing to tombstoning have increased calls for responses from local authorities and emergency services. At Plymouth Hoe, in Plymouth, Devon, where tombstoning is popular, the number of serious injuries and deaths [7] has led to the dismantling of seafront diving boards and closure of parts of the waterfront to discourage the activity. [8] Similar practices are employed at Holcombe, Somerset, Herne Bay Pier in Kent, and in areas of Southampton's Redbridge causeway, all popular tombstoning locations. [9]

Criticism

Conversely, Paul Snelling in the journal Public Health Ethics has argued that criticism of tombstoning has been based purely on a health perspective which "fails to take into account the enjoyment that various health effecting habits brings and the contribution that this makes to a good life." [10] Residents of Portknockie in Moray defended tombstoning into the North Sea in July 2014 arguing that it was "a local tradition that dates back generations", pointing out that "the real dangers are when holidaymakers join in" who don't know when and where it is safe. [11] Jo Wood of The Guardian also criticised the anti-tombstoning arguments in 2006, stating that "By banning tombstoning in and around the bays at Newquay, authorities are forcing the tombstoners to less populated and known cliffs, around unknown rip currents, increasing the danger of a) a bad jump and b) not being spotted and easily rescued should something go wrong." [12]

Related Research Articles

Plymouth City and unitary authority in England

Plymouth is a port city in England on the south coast of Devon, approximately 37 miles (60 km) south-west of Exeter and 190 miles (310 km) west-south-west of London. Enclosing the city are the mouths of the river Plym and river Tamar, which are naturally incorporated into Plymouth Sound to form a boundary with Cornwall.

Plymouth Hoe

Plymouth Hoe, referred to locally as the Hoe, is a large south-facing open public space in the English coastal city of Plymouth. The Hoe is adjacent to and above the low limestone cliffs that form the seafront and it commands views of Plymouth Sound, Drake's Island, and across the Hamoaze to Mount Edgcumbe in Cornwall. The name derives from the Anglo-Saxon word hoh, a sloping ridge shaped like an inverted foot and heel.

Unintended consequences Outcomes of a purposeful action that are not intended or foreseen

In the social sciences, unintended consequences are outcomes of a purposeful action that are not intended or foreseen. The term was popularised in the twentieth century by American sociologist Robert K. Merton.

Torquay Human settlement in England

Torquay is a seaside town in Devon, England, part of the unitary authority area of Torbay. It lies 18 miles (29 km) south of the county town of Exeter and 28 miles (45 km) east-north-east of Plymouth, on the north of Tor Bay, adjoining the neighbouring town of Paignton on the west of the bay and across from the fishing port of Brixham.

The Shipping Forecast is a BBC Radio broadcast of weather reports and forecasts for the seas around the coasts of the British Isles. It is produced by the Met Office and broadcast by BBC Radio 4 on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. The forecasts sent over the Navtex system use a similar format and the same sea areas. The waters around the British Isles are divided into 31 sea areas, also known as weather areas. There are currently four broadcasts per day at the following times:

Automotive safety Study and practice to minimize the occurrence and consequences of motor vehicle accidents

Automotive safety is the study and practice of design, construction, equipment and regulation to minimize the occurrence and consequences of traffic collisions involving motor vehicles. Road traffic safety more broadly includes roadway design.

River Allen, Dorset River in Dorset, England

The River Allen is a river in the county of Dorset in South West England. It flows for 14 miles (23 km) and has its confluence with the River Stour in Wimborne Minster. It has two main tributaries, the Gussage Stream and the Crichel Stream.

Holcombe, Somerset Human settlement in England

Holcombe is a small village and civil parish in the Mendip local government district of Somerset, England. The parish contains the hamlets of Barlake and Edford. It is within easy commuting distance of both Bristol and Bath.

Plymouth Sutton and Devonport (UK Parliament constituency)

Plymouth Sutton and Devonport is a constituency created in 2010, and represented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament since 2017 by Luke Pollard, a Labour Co-operative party candidate.

Barnfield College is the largest further education college in Bedfordshire, England, with two campuses in Luton.

A near miss, "near hit", "close call", or "nearly a collision" is an unplanned event that has the potential to cause, but does not actually result in human injury, environmental or equipment damage, or an interruption to normal operation.

South Western Ambulance Service

The South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) is the organisation responsible for providing ambulance services for the National Health Service (NHS) across South West England. It serves the council areas of Bath and North East Somerset, Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council, Bristol, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, North Somerset, Plymouth, Isles of Scilly, Somerset, South Gloucestershire, Swindon, Torbay and Wiltshire. On 1 March 2011, SWASFT was the first ambulance service in the country to become a NHS foundation trust. On 1 February 2013, neighbouring Great Western Ambulance Service merged with the trust.

Physical hazard Hazard due to a physical agent

A physical hazard is an agent, factor or circumstance that can cause harm with contact. They can be classified as type of occupational hazard or environmental hazard. Physical hazards include ergonomic hazards, radiation, heat and cold stress, vibration hazards, and noise hazards. Engineering controls are often used to mitigate physical hazards.

A hazard is a potential source of harm. Substances, events, or circumstances can constitute hazards when their nature would allow them, even just theoretically, to cause damage to health, life, property, or any other interest of value. The probability of that harm being realized in a specific incident, combined with the magnitude of potential harm, make up its risk, a term often used synonymously in colloquial speech.

Casper (cat) Cat from Plymouth that commuted by bus

Casper was a male domestic cat who attracted worldwide media attention in 2009 when it was reported that he was a regular bus commuter in Plymouth in Devon, England. He appeared on BBC News, was the subject of a newspaper editorial in The Guardian, and had a book written about him, Casper the Commuting Cat. Casper died on 14 January 2010 after being hit by a taxi.

Water safety refers to the procedures, precautions and policies associated with safety in, on, and around bodies of water, where there is a risk of injury or drowning. It has applications in several occupations, sports and recreational activities.

Occupational safety and health Field concerned with the safety, health and welfare of people at work

Occupational safety and health (OSH), also commonly referred to as occupational health and safety (OHS), occupational health, or occupational safety, is a multidisciplinary field concerned with the safety, health, and welfare of people at occupation. These terms also refer to the goals of this field, so their use in the sense of this article was originally an abbreviation of occupational safety and health program/department etc.

Healthcare in Devon is now the responsibility of the two clinical commissioning groups, one covering Northern, Eastern and Western Devon, and one covering South Devon and Torbay. It was announced in November 2018 that the two were to merge.

2014 Amsterdam drug deaths

On 25 November 2014 two British tourists aged 20 and 21 died in a hotel room in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, after snorting white heroin that was sold as cocaine by a street dealer. The bodies were found less than a month after another British tourist died in similar circumstances. At least 17 other people have had medical treatment after taking the white heroin. Health authorities in Amsterdam are warning of the dangerous drugs being sold. Large signs were set up at popular tourist locations in the city. An award of €15,000 is offered for tips about the dealer of the drugs. On 20 January 2015 the last warning signs were removed from the city as there had been no further incidents.

Tudor Evans is a British Labour Co-operative politician who has been the leader of Plymouth City Council since May 2018 and councillor for Ham ward since 1988. He has led the Labour group on Plymouth City Council since 1998, including serving as leader of the council from 1998 to 2000, from 2003 to 2007 and from 2012 to 2016.

References

Notes
  1. 1 2 "BBC News - Warning as Devil's Bridge 'tombstoning' continues despite death". Bbc.co.uk. 2013-07-10. Retrieved 2014-08-25.
  2. 1 2 "Tombstoning - Torbay Council". Torbay.gov.uk. Retrieved 2014-08-25.
  3. 1 2 https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/303215/Tombstoning.pdf
  4. Cocozza, Paula (23 January 2018). "From skiing to tombstoning – how dangerous are our favourite pastimes?". The Guardian . Retrieved 8 May 2018.
  5. http://www.penwithradio.co.uk/67585
  6. "BBC News - Coastguard warning over 'tombstoning' on Dorset coast". Bbc.co.uk. 2014-07-09. Retrieved 2014-08-25.
  7. "Devon deaths warning over Plymouth Hoe tombstoning". BBC News. 18 June 2010.
  8. "'Unsafe' diving platform removed". BBC News. 17 February 2010.
  9. "Tombstoning campaign launched to stop serious injuries (From Daily Echo)". Dailyecho.co.uk. 2014-07-21. Retrieved 2014-08-25.
  10. Snelling, P. C. (2012). "What's Wrong with Tombstoning and What Does This Tell Us About Responsibility for Health?". Public Health Ethics.
  11. Whitfield, A. "‘Tombstoning’ a tradition, say Moray locals" Aberdeen Journals July, 2014.
  12. Wood, Jo (5 July 2006). "In defence of the thrill-seekers". The Guardian.
Sources