In light of the recent tragedy at Cultus Lake, there is some important information that cliff jumping enthusiasts should bear in mind when engaging in this sport.
My son has been cliff jumping for a number of years.
When I spoke to him about the sad loss of David Cleverley, he pointed out that jumping has rules; it is taking a calculated risk that should be calculated on the side of life, not death.
There are several areas at various heights starting as low as 10 feet above the water.
Some of these areas do not require a person to jump very far, while others require a serious exertion to run and leap out far enough to clear rocks below.
It is not calculating on the side of life to have to clear rocks, or as my son put it, that is just plain stupid.
The first rule is to always check the water below the cliff to determine the depth, the shoreline and what effort it will require to make it into water deep enough to support the jump.
At this time of year the water is very cold which may affect the physical reaction to the water. Currents are starting to speed up, and in some areas undertows are increasing in strength.
Secondly, begin jumping at lower levels to get used to the sport. You need to develop a sense of how to gauge the terrain as well as how to fall from lower heights.
It is already painful to fall incorrectly at 10 feet, but not necessarily life-threatening.
Try jumping off a high dive in a swimming pool in controlled conditions before you take to the rough water where there are no trained professionals to assist you if you have problems.
Rule number three: Always wear shoes and do not point your toes. Keep your feet flat and enter the water in a straight plunge.
If you point your toes, it will cause the body to angle backwards as you enter the water, hitting your back and knocking the air out of your lungs.
People can be knocked unconscious and may not surface due to the lack of air in their lungs. Which brings us to rule number four; the buddy system.
Always jump with people who know the area. They should have strong enough swimming skills to be able to pull you out of the water if you get into trouble.
Having a “spotter” on the ground would also make sense for people who are trying new heights.
Local pools offer swimming and water safety lessons, including applying first aid.
It is important to have some basic knowledge in artificial respiration, as well as how to move people in case they have broken limbs.
Impacting water from a great height can be fun, but it can also be the same as hitting pavement if you enter the wrong way.
Remember, you are important.
Look after yourself because we love you; no one can replace you in our lives.
Get the training you need now to have a safe, fun summer.