Tackling Tombstoning at the Port of Milford Haven
Each summer, like many other ports and harbours, the Port of Milford Haven encounters problems with young people tombstoning into the water close to busy shipping areas. It is well documented by the Coastguard, RNLI and other authorities that, aside from the hazards brought about by being near to commercial shipping, tombstoning is an extremely dangerous activity with many other risks such as submerged objects, strong currents and cold water shock.
With safety being the Port’s highest priority, much work is undertaken to prevent tombstoning through educating young people about the dangers it poses and signposting to other ways to enjoy the water safely.
Since 2014, the Port has collaborated with multiple agencies to deliver the WAVE event which sees attendees take part in interactive workshops, watch a simulated water rescue where a casualty is injured as a result of jumping, followed by taster sessions in activities such as kayaking and paddleboarding so that they learn how to enjoy the water safely.
During 2017 and 2018, the Port worked with Cardiff Harbour Authority, which experiences similar tombstoning issues, as well as Arts & Business Cymru to commission a play named ‘Would You Jump?’ that was performed to almost 1,000 pupils in Milford Haven and Cardiff. This was a hugely successful initiative which went on to win a national Arts & Business Cymru Award.
The Port can and does enforce its bye-laws in order to stop people from risking their lives at Milford Marina. If anyone commits offences under Sections 33 and 34 of the Milford Docks Company Act 1981 they will be pursued through the civil courts and be liable for a £50 fine.
A video of the ‘Would You Jump?’ project can be found online
Tombstoning and Dover Port
A DVD warning of the dangers of tombstoning was created by Dover Port which shows the possible consequences of the high-risk activity and includes the story of a young man who was left paralysed after jumping from a pier. The project was spearheaded by the Port of Dover Police and was funded by the Dover District Community Safety Partnership. The hope is that it will deter youngsters from joining the increasing number of people seriously injured, sometimes fatally, each year.
Sonny Wells, 23, from Waterlooville, Hampshire, is the young man whose story is told in the film. His accident happened in 2008 in Southsea and in a moving interview he tells of his battle to overcome his devastating injuries. He was at the launch to give his backing to the project.
The video link has been provided to PSS members by port of Dover, is available on youtube and via the Dover District Council website and DVD copies are available from Dover District Community Safety Partnership