Calls to make youngsters more aware of water dangers after incidents at Hartlepool Marina
Campaigners are calling on councils and other authorities to raise awareness of the dangers of people jumping into water from bridges and harbour walls.
The call to combat so-called ‘tombstoning’ comes just days after it was revealed that youngsters are risking their lives by swimming among the boats in Hartlepool Marina.
The Local Government Association (LGA), which represents dozens of councils and fire and rescue authorities across the country, has reported a summer holiday surge in the activity known as tombstoning.
The LGA is calling on the Government to raise awareness of the dangers of jumping into water and of cold water shock by extending a campaign run by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to schools across the country.
The campaign is currently targeted at men aged between 18 and 29, but the LGA believes it should be rolled out to schools to make younger people aware of the risks.
The Mail reported on Saturday that police have received 21 calls since the beginning of this month about young people swimming at the Marina.
Simon Blackburn, chairman of the LGA’s safer and stronger communities board, said: “Jumping into water may appear enticing during warm weather, but you should never jump off any structure directly into the sea or a river as you can never be sure how deep the water is below.
“Shallow water, unseen objects, hitting something on the way down or simply landing badly can lead to people being killed or paralysed.
“The message is clear - if you don’t know that the depth of the water is safe or you cannot see what is below the surface, don’t jump.”
Five people last week died during a beach day trip to Camber Sands in East Sussex.
Mr Blackburn added: “Young people across the country, not just those living near the sea, need to be aware of the dangers.”