A LIVE multi-agency exercise was held at Milford Dock on Friday to raise awareness among young people of the hidden dangers of jumping from height into the waters around the town’s busy port and coastline.
Thirty young people from Milford Haven took part in the pilot initiative, called Wave.
The exercise was spearheaded by the Port of Milford Haven and Milford Youth Matters and backed by other local agencies including Dyfed- Powys Police, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, St John’s Ambulance and the RNLI.
The initiative followed a marked increase in the number of young people seen jumping, or tombstoning as it’s also known, into the Haven during the recent spell of good weather.
Mark Andrews, Corporate Affairs Director for the Port of Milford Haven, said: “We want people to enjoy the fabulous waterway we are lucky enough to have on our doorsteps, but we want them to be safe whilst doing so.
"Also, rather than simply moving young people on from well-known areas around Milford Dock, we were keen to educate them about the hidden dangers around our coast”.
During the event the young people were able to witness a live multi-agency exercise which involved rescuing a simulated casualty from the water who had been injured as a result of tombstoning.
Station Manager Sion Slaymaker of Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Our fire crews are experienced and resourced for rescuing casualties from all types of static and swift water environments. "However I hope that today’s demonstration has highlighted the serious consequences of tombstoning where hidden dangers in the water are not readily apparent”.
The day also included a wide range of safety and first aid advice from trained and experienced activity providers.
Sian Jones, of Milford Youth Matters, commented: “We have been able to offer taster sessions in kayaking and canoeing as well as teaching young people
basic lifesaving skills in the water. The aim of today is to educate young people of the dangers of jumping in an informal, fun environment”.
The young people have all be asked to complete evaluation forms regarding the event and should those prove positive.
The Port of Milford Haven hopes to repeat the event next year.