You should always be careful while boating, but despite some recent reports a hot new trend on social media is not leading to a spike in drownings across Alabama.

Last week, a Birmingham TV station published a widely shared and aggregated story in which a public safety official in Childersburg suggested that four people had drowned recently participating in a "TIkTok challenge."

In the report, a Captain Jim Dennis said men are filming themselves jumping off the side of boats traveling at high speeds and winding up in the water with broken necks, fatally drowning.

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A week after the story went online, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency contacted more than 500 media members to debunk the claims Dennis made.

"Please be advised the information released to the news outlet was incorrect," said ALEA Sergeant Jeremy J. Burkett. "The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency’s 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 fatally 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."


ALEA always promotes boater safety and people should not read this rumor debunking as an encouragement to behave irresponsibly on the water.

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