Teenagers risking their lives by tombstoning and swimming in marina

PUBLISHED: 07:00 15 July 2020

Portishead RNLI

Portishead RNLI


The RNLI is urging teenagers to stop putting their lives at risk by tombstoning off Portishead Pier and swimming in the marina.

The RNLI is encouraging parents to tell their children about the dangers of entering sea water.       Picture: MARK ATHERTONThe RNLI is encouraging parents to tell their children about the dangers of entering sea water. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Police, RNLI and the Coastguard in Portishead have become increasingly busy since the ease of the lockdown, responding to a number of incidents where young people have been spotted swimming in big groups.

The RNLI is urging young people to stop taking ‘unnecessary risks’ along the coast and marina which could cost them their lives.

The charity says people who enter the water are at risk from serious injury, cold water shock and drowning as there are no lifeguards on the coast or the marina.

Lifeboat operations manager Dave Slack is writing to schools in the area to encourage parents and guardians to talk to their children about the dangers of entering sea water, as the RNLI cannot conduct school visits at this time.

Portishead RNLI. Picture: Portishead RNLIPortishead RNLI. Picture: Portishead RNLI

Dave said: “The water temperature at this time of year, despite the recent lovely weather, is still only 12 degrees and although the sea and marina seem very inviting, this can cause your body to go in to cold water shock and leave you gasping uncontrollably for breath, causing you to drown.

“Cold water shock causes many deaths every year on our coast and inland waters and we urge you to explain to your young people how to float to live.”

Anyone who falls into the sea is advised to lean back and extend their arms and legs to help them float until they can control their breathing, then call for help or swim to safety.

Dave added: “Tombstoning from Portishead Pier and jumping in the Marina are activities which are extremely dangerous.

“The depth of water may hide unknown hazards under the surface which could lead to serious injury and drowning.

“The tide is very strong on our coast, particularly around the pier, and can soon take you in to the very deep and busy shipping channel.

“Having one of the highest tidal ranges in the world here in Portishead, the water can rise and fall up to 15 metres every six hours. The tide moves in and out very quickly.

“Swimming in the marina is prohibited, and we would therefore urge you to discourage your children from doing so.”

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