Beachgoers urged to look before they leap

January 21, 2021 BY

Diving is prohibited across 211 piers and jetties in Victoria. Photo: Barwon Coast Committee of Management

Barwon Coast Committee and Parks Victoria have again teamed up to warn beach goers against the dangers of jetty jumping.

Earlier this month, the Barwon Coast Committee of Management issued a strong warning urging people to consider the impact that encouraging someone to jump may have on the rest of their life.

Water depths change regularly and unexpected hazards from sand movement and debris make the act of diving into open water “extremely dangerous”.

With more beach days on the horizon, Committee CEO Gary McPike is encouraging anyone thinking about jumping to think again.

“Barwon Coast has a responsibility to manage the risks and threats to members of the public that use the Crown land we look after.

“Jumping and diving from jetties is known to potentially cause serious injuries like in the case of Paralympian Nazim Erdem,” he said.

Mr Erdem was only 20 years old when he took a life-changing dive into shallow water.

A jump off his local pier resulted in a permanent spinal cord injury leaving him a quadriplegic for life.

“It was just a bit of fun with my mates but it’s changed my life forever.

“You’re aware that there are risks in life but I never thought jumping off a pier would result in an injury like this,” he said.

Parks Victoria manage 70 per cent of Victoria’s coastline, including 211 piers and jetties where jumping or diving is prohibited.

“We are focused on protecting the safety of our visitors and staff,” a spokesperson said.

“Water depths, sand bars, submerges debris and rubbish around piers change on a daily basis, making water conditions unpredictable.

It is believed that each year in Victoria there are more than 200 new cases of traumatic spinal cord injuries among those aged 15 and over.

Of these cases, around 7 per cent are caused by water-related accidents including diving into shallow water and being dumped by a wave.

“If you are keen to swim at the beach this summer, make sure you find a safe place to enter the water, follow all safety signage and never jump from piers or jetties,” the spokesperson said.

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