Do Not Flush Whilst Seated

Warning sign in our cabin telling us that the kettle worked

Warning sign in our cabin telling us that the kettle worked

This boat is, apparently, a very dangerous place. Everywhere one turns there are warnings of the mortal peril we face every day. Here is a sample of the dangers we are warned about. Each warning is written in six languages, so it requires dedication to find where on the sign is the warning for you.

  • On a free-standing placard on the little table in my cabin: Warning: the water in the kettle may be very hot. (I would perhaps have written the sign, “Good news! The water in the kettle may be very hot!” or perhaps “Warning: kettle works properly.”)
  • Above every toilet on the boat: Do not flush whilst seated. (The lids and flush buttons are set up to make it practically impossible to flush whilst seated as well.)
  • At the top and bottom of every stairway: Mind the step. (That small blue sign with writing in six languages is much easier to spot than the entire damn staircase after all. But what if someone falls on the next step? Shouldn’t there be a warning on each step on the staircase?)
  • On the side of the boat while docked at Kagoshima (but not in other ports): KEEP CLEAR OF PROPELLERS (English only)
  • In the shower: Caution: Test the temperature of the water before using the shower.
  • Part of a safety warning in every issue of the daily the bulletin delivered to our cabin: “… multiple plugs are not permitted in the cabins…” (Our cabin came equipped with a multi-plug power strip plugged into the only outlet.)

Of the above, the warning that is the least silly is actually the one about flushing (except it’s also posted above urinals). The toilets use some sort of vacuum system to flush, and if one were to form a seal between nethers and seat, who knows what might happen? Thus the heads onboard have been built with a design that would require a gifted contortionist to flush whilst seated.

Around the ship there are plenty of other warnings and safety instructions as well, a different sort of warning, given pictorially rather than in six different languages — things like “go this way if the ship is sinking.” Some of those admonitions actually seem reasonable, or even (dare I say?) helpful.

Oddly, there are no signs warning guests to not fall over the rail and into the ocean. I guess it’s OK to do that.

3 thoughts on “Do Not Flush Whilst Seated

  1. When I teach my Practical Writing students how to write instructions, I give them a humorous handout about silly safety warnings. These definitely should be on the list.

  2. It’s ok to fall over the rails…as long as you stay away from the propellers!

    I also liked that over the urinals they had the warning about putting sanitary napkins in the trash instead of flushing them…

  3. It’d be fun to go on a cruise and surreptitiously post your own guerrilla signs. Maybe something like,
    If Ship Is Sinking, Please Rearrange Deck Chairs.
    Caution, Proud Mary Burnin.

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