Londoners are being reminded of the potential dangers of walking on the Thames foreshore after a new TV series featured people looking for historic artefacts on the banks of the river.
Officials at the Port of London Authority say they welcome the fact that the ‘Mud Men’ series “is enabling more people to share in the fascinating history of the Thames”, there are hazards and rules which anyone wishing to explore the foreshore need to be aware of.
As well as the health risks, including the risk of contracting Weil’s Disease which is spread by rats urine in the water, anyone wishing to use metal detecting or digging equipment requires a PLA permit.
Explorers are also being reminded of the need to report any object found which could be of archaeological interest to the Museum of London.
PLA chief harbour master David Snelson said: “We need to make sure anyone interested in going out to see what they can find understands what can and can’t be done.
“This is to protect both the people involved and London’s archaeological heritage. There are many potential safety hazards; the Thames is a fast flowing tidal river and an exposed area of foreshore can be submerged very quickly.”
The Thames foreshore is potentially hazardous and some dangers may not always be immediately apparent. The Thames rises and falls by over 7.0m twice a day as the tide comes in and out. The current is fast and the water is cold.
Anyone going on the foreshore does so entirely at their own risk and must take personal responsibility for their safety and that of anyone with them. In addition to the tide and current mentioned above there are hazards from raw sewage, broken glass, hypodermic needles and wash from vessels. Steps and stairs down to the foreshore can be slippery.
Before going onto the foreshore consider:
sensible footwear and gloves
carrying a mobile phone
not going alone
the tide; is it rising or falling?
Always make sure you can get off the foreshore quickly – watch the tide and make sure that steps or stairs are close by.
Finally, be aware of the possibility of Weil’s Disease, spread by rats urine in the water. Infection is usually through cuts in the skin or through eyes, mouth or nose. Medical advice should be sought immediately if ill effects are experienced after visiting the foreshore, particularly “flu like” symptoms ie temperature, aching etc.
For more information on Thames foreshore permits contact Ken Jackelman, at the PLA, Tel: 01474 562339