Dangerous 'boat jumping challenge' kills four people in just six months

Dangerous 'boat jumping challenge' kills four people in just six months

The so-called TikTok challenge sees participants jumping off speeding boats


An alleged TikTok challenge has claimed the lives of four people in just six months, according to US authorities who have issued a stark warning against the trend.

The victims broke their necks and drowned after jumping or flipping off the back of speeding boats, Cpt. Jim Dennis, of Alabama’s Childersburg Rescue Squad announced.

Dennis claimed they’d been participating in what’s been dubbed the “boat jumping” or “boat jump” challenge, which he said had posed a particular problem since the start of the year despite being an issue for some time.

“[Over the] last six months we have had four drownings that were easily avoidable – they were doing a TikTok challenge,” Dennis told local news site WBMA.

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“It’s where you get in a boat going at a high rate of speed, you jump off the side of the boat, don’t dive, you’re jumping off feet first and you just kinda lean into the water.”

He added that the trend had been on first responders’ radars for “two years” but it’s popularity was “sporadic”. However, he stressed, it’s “something that needs to go away and stay away”.


First responders in Alabama are seeing a spike in drownings related to a TikTok boating challenge, where people jump off of a boat moving at high speeds. #boat #tiktokchallenge #alabama #firstresponders #jumpoffboat

One of the tragic incidents occurred in February when a father reportedly dived into Alabama’s Coosa River as his wife and three children watched helplessly from their boat.

“Unfortunately, she recorded his death,” Dennis said.

The most recent tragedy occurred in May and involved a middle-aged man, according to WBMA.

Indeed, Dennis stressed that the so-called trend was carried out by people of all ages, despite warnings over its dangers.

In a separate interview with ABC7, the rescuer pointed out: “I think people, if they’re being filmed on camera, I think they’re more likely to do something stupid because they want to show off in front of their friends for social media.”

However, Dennis later retracted his suggestion that TikTok had anything to do with the practice, saying that the publicity surrounding his comments about the "trend" got "blown way out of proportion".

The rescuer confirmed that he had worked on one death of someone jumping from a boat.

“To say that's the reason they died, I can’t say that,’’ he said. “That would be a matter of opinion.”

Meanwhile, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency’s Marine Patrol Division specifically said that there was no evidence linking recent drownings to the social media platform.

It said in a statement: "On Monday, July 3, a news story was shared regarding 'first responders warning against a deadly boating TikTok trend after recent drownings'. However, please be advised the information released to the news outlet was incorrect.

"The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency’s (ALEA) Marine Patrol Division does not have any record(s) of boating or marine-related fatalities in Alabama that can be directly linked to TikTok or a trend on TikTok.

"One individual was fatality injured after jumping from a moving vessel in 2020 and a similar marine-related fatality occurred in 2021, however, both fatalities cannot be linked to TikTok.”

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