MP warns of ‘tombstoning’ danger

Andrew Bowie is warning of the unseen dangers of harbour swimming
Andrew Bowie is warning of the unseen dangers of harbour swimming

A North-east MP has joined coastguards in warning of the unseen dangers of harbour ‘tombstoning’ after an incident at a Mearns harbour.

Andrew Bowie was speaking after a 12-year-old boy was injured when he jumped into the water at Gourdon earlier this week.

The youngster was treated for head and leg injuries at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.

Conservative MP Mr Bowie represents West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, which has many harbours and river mouths that are popular bathing spots.

He said: “The summer has seen fantastic weather across the North-east and people should take the opportunity to visit our beautiful coast and riversides to enjoy the fresh air.

“But they need to be aware of the dangers of open water.

“Tombstoning in particular can be very dangerous because rocks aren’t visible, the tide hard to judge, and cold water shock slows down reaction times.

“Working harbours like Gourdon and Johnshaven, and many others, are environments which were not designed to jump into.”

Mr Bowie added: “With call-outs already increasing in warmer weather, HM Coastguard and the RNLI are already stretched.

“It might seem like fun — but you will be woefully unprepared if the slightest thing goes wrong, without any of the aids and equipment the emergency services send their crews into the water with.”

Emergency services, including HM Coastguard, RNLI and paramedics, were called to the Gourdon incident on Tuesday.