The TikTok Boat Jumping Challenge Is the Latest Dangerous Trend

The latest viral TikTok trend is called the boat jumping challenge, and many want to know what it is and why it's actually dangerous.


Jul. 10 2023, Updated 4:10 p.m. ET

Two people jumping off the back of a moving boat.
Source: TikTok/@nataliejillfit

As anyone familiar with TikTok likely knows, the trends on the platform range from the harmless and stupid to the genuinely dangerous. One recent trend that has been picking up steam in the news, and has led many to want to better understand it, is the boat jumping challenge.

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The boat jumping challenge isn't something that anyone should try themselves. Several news stories have seemingly highlighted how dangerous it can be.

A boat in the water
Source: Getty Images
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What is the boat jumping challenge on TikTok?

The boat jumping challenge involves a person jumping into the water from a moving boat, sometimes going at pretty high speeds. It's relatively straightforward, and people have tried everything from backflips to cannon balls as they enter the water. Although it may seem harmless, authorities around the country are raising alarm bells about the trend and warning people not to take part in it.

The TikTok boat jumping trend may be extremely dangerous.

According to a report from WBMA, at least four people have died in the state while participating in the trend, jumping off of the backs of boats and then breaking their necks when they hit the water.

“Last six months we have had four drownings that were easily avoidable. They were doing a TikTok challenge," Captain Jim Dennis of the Childersburg Rescue Squad said.

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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 continued. Dennis said that boat jumping has been an ongoing issue over the last two years, but has been picking up in the last year especially. The first victim died in February after jumping from a boat on the Coosa River while his wife and children watched.

"The four that we responded to when they jumped out of the boat, they literally broke their neck and, you know, basically an instant death," Dennis said. "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."

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However, another report from claims that the TikTok boat jumping challenge is actually "not to blame" for the deaths in Alabama. "The head of an Alabama rescue squad said he doesn’t know that anyone in the state has died from a boat jumping TikTok challenge, despite numerous published reports quoting him as saying otherwise," the report reads.

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Captain Jim Dennis says his comments about the four drownings were taken out of context. "We’ve had four drownings in the last six to eight months (that the Childersburg Rescue Squad worked) and some of those were just drownings," he said.

The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency released the following statement on Monday, July 10: "On Monday, July 3, a news story was shared regarding 'first responders warning against a deadly boating TikTok trend after recent drownings' in Alabama. However, please be advised the information released to the news outlet was incorrect.

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"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."

Of course, whether related to a TikTok trend or not, the safest way to avoid potentially devastating injuries or death is to simply avoid jumping out of moving boats altogether. Jumping from a stationary boat should provide you with all the thrills you need, and likely won't result in any fatal accidents, at least on its own.

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