Warning to parents over children’s dangerous tombstoning activity

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Parents and adults of Folkestone, we are writing this post to ask for your assistance with a problem called Tombstoning. The problem has continued to escalate over the summer holidays despite warnings from the Folkestone Harbour Company, Kent Police and our own Lifeguard team.

Children jumping from the top of Folkestone Harbour Arm into shallow waters below.
Children tombstoning from Folkestone Harbour Arm.

Groups of children and teenagers were seen jumping from the top of Folkestone Harbour Arm into shallow water below. They were asked repeatedly to stop the activity, as they were risking serious life-changing injury or worse.

Not only is this activity against the law, it is also extremely dangerous. If you know your child is planning to visit the beach this summer, please remind them of the risks and encourage them to stay safe.

In recent years the Coastguard has dealt with over 200 tombstoning incidents, with 70 injuries and 20 deaths. There have been 3 tombstoning injuries at Folkestone this year.

Think before you jump. Don’t jump into the unknown.

Danger of Death or Serious Injury

What is Tombstoning?

Tombstoning is a very high-risk activity which involves jumping or diving from a high height into unfamiliar water.

Thrill seekers hurl themselves from different platforms such as high ledges, cliffs or piers into the water below, often unaware of how deep the water may be and what lies below the surface.

Why is it dangerous?

  • Folkestone Sunny Sands is a tidal beach, meaning the water can conceal hidden objects at high tide, and areas can become very shallow or empty at low tide.
  • Submerged objects such as rocks, ropes & markers can cause serious impact injuries.
  • The shock of cold water can make it difficult to swim.
  • Sea conditions can often make getting out of the water more difficult than people realise.
  • Strong currents can quickly take people out to sea or pull people under the water.
  • Waves can push people into the harbour walls, causing serious injury.
Don't jump into the unknown. A silhouetted figure jumps from a structure into waves made up of words: "Broken Neck", "Paralysed", "Shattered Spine", "Drowned", "Killed".

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