COASTGUARD chiefs have issued a grave warning over 'tombstoning' after men were caught jumping from Durdle Door into the sea.

A team from Lulworth Coastguard caught up with the men after a member of the public raised the alarm about the reckless act.

A spokesman from Lulworth Coastguard Rescue Team said they were called to the scene on Thursday afternoon when the men were reported to be putting themselves in danger by jumping from the iconic landmark into the sea.

The men were warned about their actions by officers.

Now, a renewed plea has been issued to locals and visitors.

Duty Controller for HM Coastguard James Instance said there has been a rise in tombstoning during recent weeks. Around the country there has been two deaths and 28 injuries over the last seven years.

"If you’re thinking about cooling off in the sea please make sure you’re aware of the dangers", he said.

“Jumping from piers, cliffs, rocks or other structures into the sea can be very dangerous.

"Conditions can change quickly along, and a change in tide can dramatically affect the depth of the water. What was a deep pool at lunchtime might be a shallow puddle by teatime."

Mr Instance explained that as well as being at risk from hidden hazards and strong currents, the shock factor makes it difficult to swim to safety.

“The water around the UK is classified as ‘cold’ for much of the year – even when the hot weather hits", he added.

"Sudden immersion in cold water triggers shock and causes uncontrollable gasping. Even for the strongest swimmer the instinctive reaction to thrash about and panic, which can quickly lead to drowning."

The coastguard and RNLI have the following advice for dealing with cold water shock.

“We’re continuing to share the skill – floating – to help people survive", James Instance said.

"If you’re suddenly in difficulty in cold water, you need to fight the basic instinct to thrash about or swim. Instead, floating allows a person to regain control of their breathing, before then trying to swim or shout for help.

“It’s really important that people think about the possible dangers. "Never jump while under the influence of alcohol, drugs or peer pressure. Coasteering with a registered professional company is a safer alternative."

People planning a trip to the coast over the weekend are also being reminded to take a fully charged mobile phone.

"Tell someone where you are going and what time you’ll be back. That way they can raise the alarm with the Coastguard if you’re overdue", Mr Instance said.

"If you get into difficulty or you see anyone in trouble on the coast call 999 immediately and ask for the Coastguard.”


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