Water Depth Gauge Boards

Shelley Signs produce a range of standard design gauge boards, although special and adapted gauges can be designed on request. The gauge board PDF, available for download, gives illustrations of the standard design. We work in Glass Reinforced Plastic which is exceptionally tough, robust and easy to clean.

Most water depth Gauge Board projects start with us providing a quote. You can contact us via email, the enquiry form or give us a call – we are always happy to chat through your requirements.
Some clients know exactly what they want and provide a detailed brief. Other clients are looking for guidance and to explore options – we are happy to work with you to define your project.

D50 style gauge board in river

Download the comprehensive Gauge Board leaflet here

Inland Design Gauge Boards

This page introduces a range of standard water depth Gauge Boards for water measurement. The inland boards are used in rivers, canals, reservoirs, streams, lakes and lochs.

  • D50 design – An inland water level depth gauge board, 145 mm wide and produced in 1 metre sections. Available with red datum metre numerals, if more than 1 metre is measured.
  • D64 design – An inland design board, 100 mm wide and produced in 1 metre sections. Available with red datum numerals, if more than 1 metre is measured.
  • D50 and D64 – Both are commonly used on rivers and reservoirs and comply with British Standard 3680 : Part 7 : 1971, Part 7, Methods of Measurement of Liquid Flow in Open Channels.

Tidal Design Gauge Boards

  • D53 design – A tidal board designed for docks, harbours and marinas. It is 300 mm wide and produced in 1 metre sections.

Imperial Design Gauge Boards

  • Imperial Boards – Fairly infrequently commissioned, but still asked for. The imperial board is 6 inches wide and produced in sections 3 feet long.

Special Design Gauge Boards.

Gauge boards can be produced as special designs to suit. Examples include:

  • Colours – Gauge boards can be colour-coded, to improve interpretation. Or a background colour or edging can be used to highlight certain features.
  • Infra-red colours – Experience suggests that white print on a black background is easier to read by people using infra-red cameras.
  • Size – Wider or narrower gauge boards to suit location or reading distances
  • Incline – Gauge boards often need to be produced as ‘incline boards’, because they are placed on a sloping surface. This means the digits need to be stretched, to reflect the angle of incline.

Photoluminescent Gauge Boards

Photoluminescent Gauge Boards are commonly known as ‘glow in the dark’ boards. This material self charges using ambient light and then glows, in the dark, strongly enough for the graduations to be clearly visible. All our gauge boards can be produced with this photoluminescent finish.

Retroflective Gauge Boards

Retroflective Gauge Boards work in a similar manner to standard road signs – they are easy to read and use with an appropriate light source (headlights, torch, spot light).  The reflective surface reflects light back to the source of the illumination making them easy to read on dull days, when there is limited light or at night.  All our gauge boards can be produced with a Retroflective finish.

Infra-red Camera Gauge Boards

The standard gauge board has black digits on a white background with  datum or metre numerals printed in red on white.  This is highly visible for ambient light but works less well if the gauge boards are being monitored by infra-red cameras.  When gauge boards are used in this application we recommend amending the style of the datum numeral to a ‘reversed’ out image as this example.

Air Draught Boards

Air draught boards are designed to clearly display the clearance heights under bridges, structures or in tunnels.  For clear and easy reading they are normally produced at 300mm wide with black text on a yellow background, although this colour scheme can easily be amended.  They read in reverse to show the clearance height.

Fords & Flood Gauge Boards

There are 3 design options for Ford & Flood gauge boards and all comply with the UK Traffic Signs Regulations.  They are designed for use at fords or roadside locations where flooding is a common problem.  Gauges should be located in a clear position, with a good line of sight from both sides.  As illustrated in the photos below 3 size options are available.

Incline Gauge boards

Incline gauge boards are used where the bank or wall of the water course is at an angle.  We have standard designs for 40 degree and 45 degree boards but most applications are bespoke and artwork is created to suit.  To create incline gauge board artwork we require the vertical depth to be measured, the overall face length of the gauge board & the angle of incline.

Gauge Board Applications

This interpretation panel, located on the Welsh Bridge in Shrewsbury, gives an excellent illustration of the work undertaken by the Environment Agency in monitoring river levels and activity.  It shows how modern electronic monitoring works alongside the traditional methods of a clearly visible river gauge board.


Standard gauge boards are produced as encapsulated Glass Reinforced Plastic prints. They are 4 mm thick, drilled, and are normally supplied with stainless steel screws. GRP is a tried, tested & well proven material that we have used for gauge boards for many years. It gives a tough and robust product, and is suitable for long-term immersion in water and is easy to clean.

We would be happy to posts a material sample on request – handling the product quickly illustrates how suitable it is for the gauge board application.


PVC backing boards are available in either 1.5 or 3.0 metre sections [as a stock item]. These are intended to be a support, not a post system. Timber or galvanised steel posts, together with suitable fixings, can be quoted on request.

To discuss your requirements further please phone Rob Shelley on Tel. 01743 460996


Gauge Boards and water depth boards are used for measuring the depth of water in rivers, reservoirs, canals, locks, docks, harbours and navigation channels. Different design are available for inland water and tidal environments. Gauge boards can also be supplied to measure air draught, incline angles and fords.

Shelley Signs are specialist suppliers of gauge boards for measuring the depth of water, river, reservoirs, docks, harbours and marinas. A range of standard products are available with special design gauge boards produced to order. 

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