TikTok boat-jumping challenge: The trend being blamed for multiple deaths

The boat-jumping challenge sees participants jump from speeding boats (Oliver Sjöström, Pexels)
The boat-jumping challenge sees participants jump from speeding boats (Oliver Sjöström, Pexels)

Multiple people have died after attempting to conquer the latest TikTok trend, called the boat-jumping challenge.

According to US officials, at least four people have died over the past six months in Alabama after giving the social media quest a go.

Talking to NBC News, they revealed: “The four that we responded to when they jumped out of the boat, they literally broke their necks and, you know, basically an instant death.”

But what exactly does the boat-jumping challenge entail?

Here is everything we know about the dangerous TikTok trend.

What is the boat-jumping challenge?

Social media users will be no stranger to the boat-jumping challenge, as it has been an online trend since 2020. However, the summer months have caused a surge in the number of people giving it a go.

As the name suggests, the boat-jumping challenge sees people video themselves jumping out of speeding boats.

While TikTok hasn’t removed the videos, it has now placed a warning on them that reads: “Participating in this activity could result in you or others getting hurt.”

Revealing the dangers of attempting the challenge, the executive director of the Sea Tow Foundation told NBC News: “You can wind up with broken bones, a broken neck, or you could end up running into the propeller of your own boat or another boat could run over you and that would cause lots of damage, if not death.

“Hitting the water from a moving boat is like hitting concrete from jumping multiple stories up.”

The boat-jumping challenge isn’t the only dangerous TikTok trend that has claimed lives. Earlier this year, a 13-year-old boy in Ohio died after taking part in the viral TikTok Benadryl challenge.

The challenge involves participants taking 12 to 14 allergy pills, double the recommended daily dose. It is also 10 times the recommended dose for a six-hour period. The aim of it is to make the diphenhydramine (an antihistamine and sedative mainly used to treat allergies, insomnia, and symptoms of the common cold) in the medication cause hallucinations. The participants then film the side effects they experience before sharing them online.

The NHS warns that taking too much diphenhydramine can be dangerous. Its website advises: “In serious cases, you can become unconscious and may need emergency treatment in hospital.”

The FDA had previously asked TikTok “to be vigilant to remove additional videos that may be posted”.

TikTok has since banned searches for the keyword “Benadryl”. However, social media users seem to have found a way around it by using alternative keywords instead.