Water Safety Signs

The recently published part II of BS5499. provides a uniform family of water safety signs based on the signs produced by the National Water Safety Committee. These signs should be used at all locations where sport or recreational activities are taking place, to warn the public of possible hazards or dangerous situations and to give specific instructions for their safety.

There are three main types of water safety signs you will find when you are around water. Each one has its own meaning, but all of them work to the same system. If you go to the seaside, then there are sometimes special flags to also look out for.

In addition to the water safety signs, you will also find information signs telling you where the toilets are or where you can get first aid. They will also tell you where the public rescue equipment is held.

Water safety signs

1. Hazard Signs

  • Triangle shaped
  • Yellow background, with black symbols
  • They are placed to help you spot a hazard that is not always obvious

They mean that you should be aware of something.

2. Prohibition Signs

Signs that mean you should not do something, are always:

  • A red ring shape, with a line running through
  • White background, red line and black symbols or shapes
  • They inform you of things you are not supposed to do

These signs tell you that it would be dangerous to do something, or go in that place.

3. Mandatory Signs

Signs that mean you should do something, are always:

  • Blue and circle shaped
  • White symbols or shapes
  • They inform you of things you need to do

These signs tell you that you should do something to be safe.

Other signs you might see

Information signs, are always:

  • White background
  • Black symbols or text

These signs help you either find something, or get somewhere.

First aid signs are always:

  • White symbols or text

These signs tell you where important safety items are such as the first aid place, or the emergency telephone.

Water safety flags

At beaches there are flags to tell us when and where it is safe to use the water.

This red flag means it is unsafe to be in the water.

Tips for the Care and Installation of Vitreous Enamel Signs

1 What is Vitreous enamel?

Vitreous enamel is a glass-like coating which is fused onto steel at temperatures of 750-860 degrees C. The enamel will exhibit all of the properties associated with glass including:

  • Colour Stability;
  • Scratch & Graffiti Resistance; and
  • Fire Resistance

2 Vitreous enamel signs need to be carefully treated as if they were glass:

a) Carefully remove signs and any fixings from packaging.

b) Handle with care using protective gloves as there may be sharp edges and avoid dropping or hitting the signs.

c) Use stainless steel, brass or zinc coated fixings.

d) Ensure a soft protective washer ( plastic or fibre ) is used at all fixing points between the fixing and the sign surface.

e) Do not drill or enlarge holes as this will crack the enamel

f) Clean every two months with mild soapy water – ensuring there are no abrasives or grit on the cloth or sponge . For stubborn marks use a non-abrasive bathroom cleaner.

3 Installation of Vitreous Enamel Signs

a) An enamelled sign pantray with return edges should never be fixed directly onto a hard or rough surface – the localised compression which could occur on high points may cause chipping or spalling and possibly cause corrosion on the return edge.

b) Where an enamelled sign has to be fixed to an uneven or rough surface it should be spaced off from that surface to avoid localised pressure points.

c) If the sign is to be installed in a coastal or corrosive environment additional protection will be needed to the sign edge if slight corrosion is to be avoided. Edges of enamelled signs are difficult to completely coat with enamel and so additional protection against corrosion may be required. Protection can be given by exterior mastic, waterproof tape or a rubber or plastic moulding. Alternatively the edge can be protected and hidden by an outer frame. Our technical sales department will be happy to advise. For more information about Vitreous Enamel signage, please send an email to sales@stocksigns.co.uk.