It was nasty accident. Some teenagers were digging tunnels in sand dunes in West Wales, one of them was in the tunnel, it collapsed, and the boy died. The coroner in the case has suggested that signs be put at the entrance to beaches warning that playing with sand is dangerous and, interestingly, the suggestions have been reported by the Daily Mail. That would be the same Daily Mail that rails about Britain being a nanny state, controlling children, limiting all of our lives…

Let’s get real folks. More than 270 people died in coastal and sea fatalities in the UK in 2005 – that’s the real danger at a beach. It’s the water, the tide, that can be unpredictable. There real education is needed.

Frankly sand safety is very minor in comparison, and you can put up as many signs as you want you can’t stop people doing silly things, and when people do silly things it sometimes goes tragically wrong.


  1. Interesting comment – I find Belgium quite free of such signs, and generally is a less litigious place than the UK… But I do live in Brussels rather than Flanders! 🙂

  2. WarningDoNotPutWarnings

    This concerns me a little; I am from an overpopulated part of Flanders, and currently living in Scotland. While I find the UK (or its private residents) more into pre-emptive patronising, silly insurance and litigation than Belgium overall (admittedly a total layman’s limited impression), I greatly value the freedom offered by ‘natural’ settings here; the right of way on land, and virtually unlimited freedom on the coast. Back home, the most intriguing places always seem to have a fence and a stop sign to keep you out. This is not to disparage the value of strong regulations for e.g. nature preserves. I suppose Flanders has so little nature left that there is not much room for generosity. But it’s not just that. There’s also fences on things merely to ‘protect’ you. Imagine the sense of surprise and freedom on the first fence-less cliff in Britain!

    I would hope the UK maintains its healthier share of relatively pristine environment, and doesn’t waste effort on overprotective signs reminding of ‘Do not your cat in this microwave’ notices, or – worse – frustrating and responsibility-stealing barriers that look like Big Brother put them there (for your own good of course). Signs with warnings about specific issues that the average adult may not know of (say, the presence of quicksand) or reminders of proper conduct (no littering, …) are a different matter. But sand is sand and waves are waves and beyond the cliff is a fall; and people should get to know them and enjoy them, and teach their kids, rather than be shielded from them.

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