Safety Spotlight – Stuck in the mud and caught out by the tide; Don't let it happen to you

Despite the mixed weather forecast for this weekend, we’re still expecting many of you to visit our beautiful coastlines.

As always, we want everyone to enjoy the sunshine and a trip to a coastal hotspot, but it’s our job to help ensure everyone stays safe.

Unfortunately, incidents can happen at any time – it could be you, your friends or family who need our assistance in a coastal emergency.

In this week’s Safety Spotlight Blog, we’re highlighting the dangers of getting stuck in the mud. You might be surprised to hear how often our highly-skilled Coastguard Rescue Teams carry out these quite complex mud rescues.

We were busy last weekend…

On Sunday afternoon (13th June), our Coastguard Rescue Teams from Weston-Super-Mare and Clevedon were sent to help a woman who was struggling in the mud at Marine Lake, Weston-Super-Mare.

Thankfully, the teams managed to free her from the mud quickly and provide first aid at the scene. That same afternoon, on Mumbles Beach in Swansea, Burry Port and Mumbles Coastguard Rescue Teams as well as South Wales Fire and Rescue Service rescued a member of the public who was caught up in soft sand and in some difficulty.

Our Coastguards put in many hours of mud rescue training so that we are prepared to react and respond to these types of incidents. We’re Always On Call and responded to nearly 500 incidents of all kinds, UK-wide, across Saturday and Sunday.

Elsewhere, our teams from Portland and Hillhead and Donna Nook and Hull also attended to reports of people stuck in the mud at Portsmouth Harbour and Cleethorpes respectively but, luckily, those people thought to be in trouble were able to self-rescue before our assistance was required.

Please follow our advice, stay safe and don’t get stuck in the mud…

  • Parts of the UK coastline – including beaches – can be categorised as soft ground (mud or quicksand) which means areas of low-lying water are open to the elements causing soft ground to form – particularly in bad weather conditions.
  • If you become stuck in mud, our advice is always the same ‘Stay calm, try and spread your weight as much as possible and avoid moving. Call 999 and ask for the Coastguard’. 
  • Anybody trapped should also discourage other well-meaning members of the public from attempting to rescue others because, without the proper equipment and expertise, they could become stuck too. 

Don’t get caught out by the tide

And, in a timely reminder of the dangers of the sea, we recently responded to a report of an incident involving 10 people being cut off by the tide at Southerndown Beach, Glamorgan.

Fortunately, Porthcawl RNLI lifeboats helped those in need to a place of safety and our Coastguard Rescue Team provided important safety advice to members of the public. In a separate incident, at Blue Anchor Bay in Somerset, Watchet Coastguard Rescue Team also helped eight people from the water – all of whom were cut off by the tide.

Safety first

Please always check your local conditions, tide times and carry a fully-charged mobile phone when venturing out to a coastal area so that you are easily contactable. 

It also goes without saying that you should visit a lifeguarded beach and swim between red and yellow flags. If you do get into trouble – Float to Live – lie on your back and relax, resisting the urge to thrash about.

And, as ever, call 999 in an emergency and ask for the Coastguard.

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