Diving board would be ‘great addition’ to Sidmouth

Tombstoning from a sea marker in Sidmouth. Picture: Contributed

Tombstoning from a sea marker in Sidmouth. Picture: Contributed - Credit: Archant

The suggestion came after a photo of youngsters jumping from a marker beacon sparked a debate on the Herald’s Facebook page.

There have been calls this week for a safe diving platform for youngsters to dive off during the summer months.

A picture showing youngsters jumping from a marker beacon on Sunday night has sparked debate on the Herald Facebook page, with many saying it was ‘kids having fun’.

But Councillor Stuart Hughes, who raised concern about the safety of jumping from the beacon, said he would be happy to put funding towards an anchored diving platform, suggested by one resident

Cllr Hughes, who watched a group diving on Monday night, said: “I couldn’t believe that kids were doing this.

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“Nobody knows what is under that, it is unsafe, if you slipped and went backwards and hit your back on the pole you would break it.

“I think that the platform would be a great addition to Sidmouth, especially for the summer.

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“It would be the ideal place for youngsters to learn diving skills if its somewhere safe. It’s far safer diving off one of those things than diving off that [the beacon].”

Guy Russell, senior coxswain at Sidmouth Lifeboat, said the sea was ‘the best playground on the planet’, but advised people to take care.

He said: “It’s about calculated risk; the tides’ heights vary from day to day, so even if it says it’s high, it might not be as high as last time. Take note of the warning signs – they are there for a reason.”

Mr Russell, who owns Jurassic Paddle Sports, said youngsters were ‘respectful and receptive’ when he spoke to them about dropping tide levels on Tuesday.

He added: “We have all been young and all done things that to others might seem crazy.

“As senior coxswain of the lifeboat and as someone who believes strongly about water safety I believe we can strike a balance between having fun and being safe.”

An East Devon District Council spokeswoman said there was currently no plans to create a diving platform in the town.

She added said: “We strongly advise people against attempting tombstoning anywhere in East Devon and we want to make it absolutely clear that people should not climb up the navigation marker and jump from it. To do so is extremely dangerous, and constitutes a form of trespass.”

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