Warning over tombstoning at Ilfracombe Harbour

Ilfracombe Harbour

Posted on: 22 June 2017

Serious concerns are being raised about people ‘tombstoning’ in Ilfracombe Harbour.

A number of people have been jumping into the water off the harbour walls which is extremely dangerous. Not only do they not know where the shallow areas are, but there are boats coming and out of the harbour all the time.

Advice from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency states why tombstoning is dangerous:

  • water depth alters with the tide; the water may be shallower than it seems
  • submerged objects like rocks may not be visible; they can cause serious injury if you jump onto them
  • the shock of cold water may make it difficult to swim
  • strong currents can rapidly sweep people away

Ilfracombe Harbourmaster Rob Lawson says: “With the recent warm weather, we have noticed more and more people jumping into the water. This is not only very dangerous but also against the law. A local byelaw exists because Ilfracombe Harbour is a busy place with many boat and ship movements a day. Those that are risking their lives with sometimes little or no knowledge of the water depth or vessels movements are being foolhardy and we need to stop them before somebody gets hurt. Along with the police and with CCTV evidence we will be monitoring this behaviour and prosecuting offenders where appropriate.”

The penalty for jumping off the harbour can be up to a £1,000 fine upon prosecution.

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