4 boaters dead after latest TikTok challenge

At least four Alabamans have lost their lives in the past year after attempting the dangerous “boat jumping” challenge, which has been widely shared on the social media platform, TikTok. Videos of people doing the stunt have been appearing since 2020, but the activity has been increasing in 2021. Gail Kulp, executive director of the Sea Tow Foundation, commented that “hitting the water from a moving boat is like hitting concrete from jumping multiple stories up” and can result in broken bones, a broken neck or even death.

Capt. Jim Dennis of the Childersburg Rescue Squad in Alabama has had to respond to four cases of individuals, all men, who supposedly died due to boat jumping. One man was a father who was enjoying a day out on the Coosa River with his family in February. His wife attempted to capture him doing the stunt, but instead captured his death.

Kulp also claims that a lifejacket would not be enough to prevent injury or death in some cases, and the only safe way to participate in boat jumping is not to participate at all. Dennis believes that people attempt the stunt in order to show off for social media, and TikTok has released a statement stating that they do not allow showing or promoting dangerous activities and challenges. The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency has also released a statement saying they have no records of any boating or marine-related fatalities in Alabama that can be directly linked to TikTok.

Despite TikTok’s statement, Dennis believes that news reports have “blown the situation way out of proportion” and that “jumping off of a moving boat is nothing new.” He warns against doing the stunt, saying “It’s not worth your life.”