The Canal & River Trust has placed the large blue ball in Walsall Basin, off Gallery Square, to warn people to be careful of the deep water following incidents where people had fallen in not realising it was there.
The buoy measures 1.8m high, wide and deep and has the words ‘Deep Water’ emblazoned across it.
But it was met with a fair amount of derision from people on social media, with some comparing it to an assault courses on TV game shows like Total Wipeout.
Others said it reminded them of ‘Rover’ – the imposing white balloon which followed ‘felons’ around the village to stop them escaping in the hit 1960s British show The Prisoner.
People also fear it will only encourage people to jump in and play with it or even steal it.
The proposal was also defended by some, while others turned criticism on walkers who failed to notice there was a canal in the area.
A string of incidents have seen people plunge into the water in the past 18 months, with thick weed and algae building up on top resulting in people walking on it thinking it was grass.
During a clean-up last year, more than 60 tonnes of weed was removed from the water. In the past, cars have also driven into the canal.
Comments about the inflatable buoy included:
“If it’s like the big ball off ‘The Prisoner’, I’m going nowhere near it!”
“Put some more across and we can all play Total Wipeout.”
“I nearly fell in trying to read what it said.”
“Perhaps it will encourage folk to dive in and play with it.
“You think the water would give it away.”
“Could put boats on it to show it’s water.”
However, some came out in defence of the measure, with one commenter saying: “It’s to inform people who do jump in it’s deep.
“Seems sensible to me. Don’t be so negative – if if saves one life it’s done its job.”
Another remarked: “How daft do you have to be, to just walk right into a canal?”
And another person added: “It’s [the canal] been in Walsall for possibly over 70 years.
“It’s now a problem for blinkered people who don’t look and can't take from the clues there: tow path, brick work, basin shape, connected to a canal waterway, a board walk, tether points for boats, a boat or two and that its called The Wharf.
“‘Oh the water is green I thought it was grass’ – should go to Specsavers.”