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Questions over effectiveness of warning signs at beaches

Questions over effectiveness of warning signs at beaches
March 6, 2014

Recently released research from Life Saving Victoria on the effectiveness of signage has revealed that less than half of beachgoers (45%) reported observing any signage at Victorian beaches.

The study, conducted between February and April 2012, included four beaches; two bay beaches at Brighton and Seaford and two ocean beaches at Point Leo and Balnarring.

Interviews were conducted with 472 beach goers to test perceived hazards, and associated recognition of aquatic safety signage, in the context for which they were designed, at beaches.

These interviews investigated hazard identification, signage remembered, understanding of the signage and, whether users noticed if warnings were in a triangle or diamond shape.

The study found that of those that observed any signage, the majority noticed hazard related signage, such as currents and rips, above any other information provided, such as dog restrictions.

LSV Risk and GIS Development Manager Robert Andronaco said while it was encouraging that hazard information received greater recognition than other information provided on aquatic signs, it was concerning that more than half of beachgoers didn't recall seeing any signage.

Andronaco stated "currents and rips were the hazards foremost in respondent's minds when they visited the beach, regardless of whether signage was present warning of this danger.

"This highlights the importance of multiple risk management strategies to prevent drowning and other aquatic injuries.

"Observation of aquatic safety signage needs to become automatic for beachgoers, so they know to look for the particular hazards at any beach or open waterway they visit before they enter the water."

This study was supported by funding from the Surf Life Saving Australia Internal Research Scheme and was conducted in collaboration with RMIT University.

For enquiries about coastal or inland signage please contact Robert Andronaco on 03 9676 6925, E: 



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