How to Safely Jump From a Bridge or Cliff Into a River or Body of Water - Without Getting Hurt!

How to Jump From a Bridge or Cliff Into a River

There may come a time in your life where you'll suddenly find yourself having to reenact the parkour moves of Uncharted's Nathan Drake in order to save your life.

Jumping from a bridge or cliff into the water below in order to escape rabid dogs or evil henchmen will probably be one of those times.

On a serious note though, this is something you should never do unless you absolutely must.

While high jumps can be performed safely for recreation, in a crisis scenario you most likely will not have been able--or had the time--to gauge the depth of the water, see if there are jagged rocks nearby, and so on and so forth.

In other words, you probably won't be jumping from a safe place where people regularly go diving.

To begin, when attempting a high fall in an emergency (let's say over twenty feet or so) into a body of water, you will not know much about your surroundings-- specifically the depth of the water--as previously discussed.

This is what makes impromptu jumping particularly dangerous.

If you're jumping from a bridge into a river or other body of water with boat traffic, try to land in the channel--the deepwater area where boats go under the bridge.

This area is generally in the center, away from the shoreline.

Moreover, stay away from any area with pylons that are supporting the bridge.

Debris can collect in these areas and you can end up hitting something when you enter the water.

No need to make your risky move riskier!

Finally, after surfacing from the jump, immediately swim to shore.

How to safely jump off a cliff into water

How to Jump Properly & Safely

1. Jump feet first and "Up and Away" From the Cliff.

2. Keep your body completely vertical.

This is also referred to as a pencil dive, which you've most likely seen many people do.

3. Squeeze your feet together, point your toes, straighten out your back, and lock your elbows in tight.

If your body begins to veer to one side as you fall, use your arms as 'wings' to straighten yourself back into position--provided that you bring your arms back to your sides prior to entering the water!

Your legs may take some damage.

Don't make it your arms too.

Likewise, pointing your toes will allow for a smoother entry into the water, allowing you to glide in rather than 'splash' in.

4. Enter the water feet first, and clench your buttocks together.

If you don't, water may rush in and cause severe internal damage.


Heck, we even saw an episode of 1000 Ways to Die (who remembers that show?) that depicted this happening.

We'll admit, initially we thought it was fake and this couldn't possibly be something that can occur in real life.

Water can really rush up your bum and kill you?

Yes, yes it can.

5. Protect your crotch area by covering it with your hands.

6. Exhale through your nose as soon as your head becomes submerged in the water.

This will prevent water from rushing straight up into your nostrils.

7. Immediately after you hit the water, spread your arms and legs wide and move them back and forth to generate resistance, which will slow your plunge to the bottom.

Always assume the water is not deep enough to keep you from hitting the bottom.

As with all things prepping, prep for the worst.

Be Aware

  • Hitting the water as described above could save your life, although it may break your feet & legs. A price worth paying to stay alive.
  • If your body is not straight, you can break your back upon entry. Keep yourself vertical until you hit the water.
  • Do not dive in headfirst unless you are absolutely sure that the water is at least twenty feet deep. If your legs hit the bottom, they will break. This also means that if your head hits, your skull will break.

Pour Conclure

Following these guidelines, if and when the time comes that you actually have to do this, you should make it out okay.

Plus, at the end of the day, you'll also have a pretty badass story to share with friends and family.

Who can say they've done something akin to an action hero?

Not many.

Good luck out there.

Please let us know if you have any comments, questions, or thoughts you'd like to share.

We WANT to hear from you!


-Alexander @ Survival Cat


Some of the information presented to you here today is from Joshua Piven's book, The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook - an excellent on-the-go addition to any hiking pack or bug-out-bag.

However, something like the SAS Survival Handbook will be more practical for everyday use while outdoors.

We also referenced this article that we read during our research process.


If you're gearing up for your next adventure, take a peek at our catalog and see if there is anything you'll need to accompany your travels. 

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