Vale council confuses water safety message

A RECENT social media post from the Vale of Glamorgan Council has left some scratching their heads.

  • Rhoose Point;
  • Penarth Pier;
  • Cosmeston.

“Tombstoning and cold water shock can kill.

“These areas are not considered safe for swimming.

“Don’t let a few seconds of fun turn into a lifetime of grief for your family.”

The post is a collaboration with the Royal Lifesaving Society UK, which focuses on keeping people safe near water.

But this has left some a bit confused given Penarth Beach recently received bathing water status which means that the water is officially safe to swim in.

The bathing water location spans 700 metres along the beach, including the pier.

However, the post appears to claim it is in fact not safe to swim in the area.

It transpires that the real message was to discourage people jumping from the pier, which has increased during the summer.

This is often done by ‘tombstoning’, which is jumping into water from a great height while in a vertical, upright position.

The practice is dangerous as impact with the water or objects underneath the water can cause severe injury or even death.

Further confusion was caused when the Vale of Glamorgan account responded to people asking about Penarth Pier by claiming that children are often caught swimming in disused quarries in the area.

Penarth Pier is notable for not being near any quarries.

At the time of writing the post has been shared more than 500 times, including by the Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust.

James Tennet, the man behind the campaign to get Penarth Beach bathing water status, said: “What they need to have done is say ‘don’t jump off the pier’, which is fair enough.

“Then a separate post saying ‘don’t swim at some of these points that have quarries’ because of cold shock and objects under the surface.

“They’ll probably realise they’ve made a mistake and then it probably take them a while to figure out how to rectify it.

“I’d be more annoyed if they just if they just left it, I want them to edit it at least because it’s been shared in hundreds of places and it is factually innacurate.”

Cllr Anthony Ernest clarified that the council are not trying to stop people swimming in the sea and that the aim of the post was to stop people jumping from the pier.

To aid that goal, the council is planning to put up signs warning people to not jump off the pier.

Cllr Ernest said: “If people want to bathe in the sea then that’s up to them entirely.

“But we certainly do wish to discourage people jumping.

“I think it is understandable that if anybody were to jump from the pier and there was an incident then clearly there might be a cut back on the council for not discouraging it.”

A spokesman for the Vale of Glamorgan Council said: “There have been instances of people swimming at various locations in the Vale, including Rhoose Point, Cosmeston Country Park and near Penarth Pier.

“Our enforcement officers and partners from South Wales Police regularly patrol these areas in a bid to keep people safe.

“There are many risks associated with swimming in open water, including cold water shock and dangers lurking below the waterline that can cause serious injury or even kill.”

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