Dangers at the Cliff’s Edge
San Diego is a city known for its natural beauty and picturesque views of the Pacific Ocean. Some of the most breathtaking views of the water that our city has to offer can be seen from the edge of a cliff (Sunset Cliffs is one of the most popular spots in San Diego to enjoy the last moments of the day). Standing near the ocean breeze and feeling the mist on your skin is a simple pleasure that San Diegans have the luxury of feeling on the regular.
Sometimes, though, the simple pleasure of taking in a beautiful view while you breathe in the salty air just doesn’t seem like enough. You want to be part of the scenery and not just a spectator. We’ve all seen the crowds that form when the cliff diving starts. One person works up the courage to take the plunge and soon enough others join in. It’s an exhilarating way to live a little and it’s definitely a memorable experience. As your feet leave the edge of the cliff and you’re falling through the air, there’s very real fear for a few moments until the water catches you. The jump sends you deep into the ocean, and when you emerge you feel like you’ve just conquered the world.
The danger of jumping off cliffs is substantial, and every now and again we hear a story about an accident. The signs posted at Sunset Cliffs near the most popular spot to jump (known as The Arch) warn of unstable cliffs and the prohibition of jumping and diving. Most people who jump make it out without a scratch. But there are a few that don’t. At any given time of day during the summer, you can find a group of people at The Arch who are at least thinking about jumping.
The kicker is that a lot of these people aren’t from San Diego and aren’t well versed in tides or ocean safety. Growing up around the water or living near it for a while, you gain an awareness of how often the water can claim lives. You know that the safest time to jump would be during high tide, when there’s enough water to separate you from the rocky bottom. People from out of town might not pay as much attention to the signs around the cliffs or know to check a tide chart before jumping. They might even drive past, see a crowd of people jumping, assume that it’s safe and stroll down later to see for themselves. There’s admittedly a lot that can go wrong down at The Arch.
According to the OB Rag, there are at least three deaths and serious injuries every year at Sunset Cliffs. These numbers should be sobering. People will jump at their own risk, but it’s always best to make an informed decision and know all of the issues associated with your actions.