Warning after girls caught ‘tombstoning’ from Bridlington’s sea wall

Bridlington's sea wall.
Bridlington's sea wall.

ANYONE leaping off Bridlington’s sea walls in what is commonly known as tombstoning has been reminded by the town’s coastguard that they are breaking the law.

The stark reminder comes after two girls were spotted leaping off the harbour wall near Esplanade into the sea at around 6.30pm on Saturday.

When approached by a member of the coastal rescue team the girls fled the scene, but were located a short time later near the Forum amusements arcade and spoken to.

Andrew Shipley, station officer of the Bridlington Coastal Rescue Team said: “On this particular occasion there were a number of adults with them who appeared to be suffering from the effects of alcohol.

“There is a byelaw in place preventing people from doing this and as a warning of the dangers involved.

“These two girls were very apologetic afterwards but they should have known better.”

Tombstoning is the term used to describe the act of jumping or diving from a height into water and is illegal in Bridlington. According to the Maritime and Coastal Agency the practice is dangerous because water depth alters with the tide so the water may be shallower than it seems, submerged rocks may not be visible, the shock of cold water may make it difficlt to swim, and strong currents can rapidly sweep people away to sea.

Around two years ago the dangerous practice had become so popular byelaws were introduced on promenades in Bridlington, as well as Hornsea, Withernsea and Hessle.

The byelaws, which are enforced by the East Riding of Yorkshire Council and Humnerside Police, have the potential to see offenders fined up to £500. Back in August 2009 a 14-year-old boy received serious head and neck injuries in a tombstoning incident near Garrison Square. And last May Bridlington’s Lifeboatmen risked their lives to rescue two teenagers thought to have been tombstoning off the town’s North Pier. Sea conditions at the time were so fierce that one crewman was injured in the operation – and the lifeboat itself needed a tow back to shore as its engine burst into flames after being damaged by debris.

Incidents recorded by HM Coastguard show since 2007 there have been at least 18 deaths and 57 serious injuries nationally due to tombstoning.