New signs to warn us


I was reassured to know the RNLI are to plant signs around the coast marking slipways and their inherent dangers. They will include little yellow triangles showing men falling over because the surface is slippery.There’s a book to go with them ,too, because people who go down to the sea to get on ships are suffering from ‘sign blindness’.

Apparently they are bombarded with conflicting information and this can lead to confusion.

Most of the slipways I’ve used, do not have any signs at all. They simply start at the shore and go out until they reach water. It has been reasonably clear that this is what they are there for. You step onto the slipway and walk along it until you get to the water. You then either: a) get in a boat and row away or b) carry on walking into the water making sure you have removed any land clothing, for a swim or c) walk back up the slipway to dry land.

There’s one causeway I can think of that does need a sign, however. It is at Harty Ferry on the Kentish Swale. It needs a yellow triangle of a little man having just come back to his tender from the pub with his legs in plaster, and a set of crutches under his arms, shouting expletives at a dinghy which is a quarter of a mile from the water with a bomb-cratered, weed-choked, cement pathway half buried in mud to negotiate before he can get back aboard.