Summer Safety is a joint partnership with the Ardrossan Coastguard Rescue Team and Newsquest International to make sure your summer trips to the coast are ones to remember for all the right reasons – not the wrong ones.

A significant part of the UK coastline can be categorised as soft ground – this will be mainly mud or quicksand.

In either case, it means the foreshore is low lying, open to the elements, tidal and not accessible to unaided conventional vehicles. The UK Coastguard uses the generic time ‘mud rescue’ to cover mud, quicksand and any other substance on the shorelines from which a casualty needs rescuing.

Our specific techniques and practices are designed to cope with mud, sand and quicksand. Unlike mud, quicksand is not obvious to the eye and there is generally little or no warning of the transition from sand to quicksand. Pockets of quicksand are always on the move and will be in different positions with every successive tide.

People can find themselves in soft ground either when the surface is so far they simply sink to a point where movement becomes impossible, or they break through a layer of relatively firm mud into a soft bubble described above.

People can also require rescue as a result of exhaustion while trying to wade through soft ground for all they may be not trapped. In all cases, the casualty may be at risk from the incoming tide. The effect in both cases is that when the person tries to pull their legs free, they create a vacuum underneath their feet and around the leg which prevents escape and further movement can make the situation worse.

One immediate measure that can be taken to prevent the casualty from sinking further is to sit on the surface of the mud/quicksand, thus spreading the load and may reduce further risk to injured casualties.

If you do become stuck in mud or quicksand, the advice is to stay as calm as possible and try to spread your weight and avoid moving. You should also discourage other well-meaning members of the public from attempting to rescue you because without the proper equipment and training, there’s a high likelihood they too will become stuck.

Crucially, it is vital to ensure that if you become stuck in mud or quicksand at the coast, that someone dials 999 and asks for the Coastguard immediately. Coastguard Rescue Teams are specially trained and equipped for these types of incidents.

In a coastal, beach or cliff emergency it’s always dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.