‘Tombstoning’ warning after youth injured in leap from Broadstairs pier

The dangers of tombstoning

HM Coastguard Margate and Thanet’s RNLI Lifeguard service have issued a warning about jumping into the sea  from piers or groynes after a youth suffered injuries in Broadstairs on Friday (June 26).

HM Coastguard Margate were tasked by UK Coastguard to assist South East Coast Ambulance Service in recovering the male who had jumped into the sea from Broadstairs Pier and had hit the bottom.
The youth had made it ashore with a suspected broken ankle and knee. After he received some first aid help from a bystander the emergency service arrived and he was given pain killers, put on a stretcher and taken off the beach.

Thanet’s RNLI Lifeguards have highlighted the dangers of tombstoning  -jumping or diving from a height into water.

Water depth is often deceiving and can result in injury at low tide. Hidden dangers beneath the water include dumped items such as shopping trolleys which are often found and removed.

Image Paul Dunt/RNLI

Senior RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor, Stuart Cattell, said: “We know it can be very tempting during hot weather to jump into the sea from a pier or groyne, especially if you’re on the beach with a group of friends.

“Unfortunately it’s impossible to see hidden hazards under the surface, or to tell how deep the water is. Tombstoning means playing Russian roulette with your own safety.

“There have been 20 tombstoning deaths in the UK since 2005 and 70 reported injuries. Several people ahead of you might jump safely, but if you hit the beach – or a piece of wood or concrete on your way down – at the wrong angle, you could end up with life-changing head injuries, broken bones or permanently paralysis.

“Please stick to enjoying the weather and the sea by swimming  or using kayaks or SUPs safely.”

In a coastal emergency dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard


  1. While we were there 2 weeks ago We seea lot of kids jumping and 2 security people stood watching them

    • What were the “security people” supposed to do? You can’t arrest people for being stupid. Idiocy is not a criminal offence.
      What did you do, other than stand there watching someone else watching the jumpers?

  2. Sadly this is nothing new. When my father lived in Ramsgate in the 1930s boys were always jumping off the harbour wall. Sadly boys will always be boys. A little common sense would not go amiss. I wonder how much his little escapade is going to cost the NHS. Maybe they should start charging people who deliberately injure themselves through their own stupidity?

  3. A young lad did die jumping off Broadstairs pier about 30+ years ago I worked with his father. He broke his neck. Lessons not learnt. Very sad time.

  4. When I was visiting Westgate on Monday there were groups of boys dive bombing off the seafront… Their language left a lot to be desired…!!

  5. Whenever there’s a tragedy the victim is always such a lovely lad or someone’s little angel if that was the case it would not happen.

  6. You don’t have to be a bad boy to die tombstoning. Most teenage boys like to take risks thinking they are invincible and infallible. Their peers will egg them on. Foolish thing to do is a game of chance when your life is on the line.

  7. So 20 desths and 70 injuries in 20 years, hardly a great number, the general view seems to be that the activity is careless and irresponsible. How many have died in the same period from esting and drinking too much and taking no exercise? I think it would be safe to assume it is a great deal more.

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