The Strange Beauty of Ferry Signs

Today is, for me, that most wonderful of days – the first day of vacation.  Of course, every day of a vacation is great, but none is sweeter than the first because, you know, it’s all ahead of you.  Likewise, the last day of vacation is generally the worst because you get that gross “Sunday afternoon and it’s raining and you have to go to school in the morning feeling” – or at least I do.  … But let us not think of that now.

Anyhow, this vacation is all about the women in my family spending time together – something that has become an annual tradition.  It’s not so much about where we go but that we go together and drink an awful lot.

This year we will be staying on Wolfe Island, one of the Thousand Islands, just across from Kingston.  As you might imagine, there’s a bit of water between the two and so taking a ferry is required.  (Or rather, it is if you haven’t your own boat or aren’t keen on swimming with luggage.)  And truly, taking the ferry is one of the real treats in visiting the island.  Not only is it fast, free and offers marvelous views but it also features the greatest collection of safety signage I’ve ever come across.  I mean, these things look like they were designed by Saul Bass:


I love that the flames look like they’re applauding the extinguisher. As for the groovy snowsuit and Mr. EEBD, while I don’t really know what they want me to do with them, I do know that if you see them, nothing good is happening.


This would appear to be kind of a repeat of the extinguisher sign above, but it’s actually imparting something new – a hose is another good way to fight fire.


I can’t say I’ve ever seen a boat like this but I like it – it’s looks like a super buoyant tent.


This one is all to do with ‘mustering’ but for me somehow always cues the Henry Mancini theme for Charade.

I imagine that these lovely graphics aren’t unique to the Wolfe Island ferry, but I haven’t yet come across the same grouping anywhere else.  It feels almost like it’s been curated to be as charming as possible.  And why not?   If you’re looking to impart information, something that interests the eye is definitely the way to go.


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