Friday, 20 June 2008

Watch out for incoming tide at Dartmouth cove

Just when you think you have seen it all along comes a story to prove your assumption wrong. This concerns 'Castle Cove' at the mouth of the River Dart in South Devon. There are signs there warning of falling rocks but more bizarrely a highway style sign on a metal post with a triangle within which there is an exclamation mark. The inscription reads "BEWARE OF INCOMING TIDE". Well fancy that! The tide might come in causing you to be cut off! This signage has evidently been erected under the advice of the insurers for South Hams District Council, the local authority for the area. On the face of it this is 'Health and Safety' going way way over the top. However I've decided to dig a little on this one and have come across this report to the Council here from one of its officers. Paragraph 7 on page two is particularly pertinent ... "and have then be cut off as the tide has come in". This could well be the reason why the sign was erected.

So what's my take on this? Evidently there have been instances when someone has been caught out at the 'Bathing Platform' when the tide has come in although I don't recollect hearing about lifeboat or helicopter rescues being enacted. Sadly we are in this culture where people aren't expected to take any personal responsibility for their personal safety, someone else has to advise them of even the remotest danger. Surely folk know that tides ebb and flow every day, or perhaps not. It worries me that there is a massive disconnect between some people and the natural environment. Yes the coast is a wonderful place to visit but it has to be understood and it has the potential to be dangerous. Are we getting to the stage that we have to be warned about every possible mishap that might occur to us. Sadly yes seems to be the answer.

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