WITH THE Easter holidays now underway, emergency services have joined forces to urge the public to take extra care when enjoying coastline walks, after dog walkers got stuck in mud on the Isle of Wight last weekend.

Solent Coastguard, the RNLI and the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service are often called out to rescue members of the public who have become stuck in mud near to the Island's coastline or rivers.

Last Sunday, there were two separate incidents in which dog walkers needed rescuing from the mud at Whitecliff Bay.

The first rescue, which lasted three-and-a-half hours, involved fire crews from Shanklin, Newport and Ryde, working alongside other emergency service partners, after a woman was stuck waist-deep in the mud along with her pet dog.

Who to call if you find yourself or someone in danger in mud

If you get stuck, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.

Wearing water rescue suits, firefighters used portable rescue platforms, known as mud paths, to create a stable surface to reach the woman.

About an hour after the operation ended, Newport and Ryde firefighters were called to assist the Coastguard with the second mud rescue, after another woman found herself stuck while on a dog walk.

The woman and her dog were rescued and handed into the care of paramedics.

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It is likely more people will be out enjoying coastal walks during the Easter holidays, so it is important they "stay alert to the terrain they are walking on and know how to stay safe," a fire service spokesperson said.

Fire service station manager, Ant Westbrook, who attended both mud rescues, said: “We have some lovely coastal and beach walks on the Isle of Wight, and we want people to be able to enjoy these safely.

"Following the rescues on the Isle of Wight at the weekend, we highlight the need for people to be cautious when exploring our coastline.

"The ground is extremely muddy in places, and it can be difficult to judge how stable the surface is — or just how deep the mud is.

"We urge people to take extra care while enjoying our coastline, to stick to the paths, follow any local warnings and ensure you have a mobile phone with you.”

Solent Coastguard echoed the fire service's sentiments. 

It's senior coastal operations officer, Andrew Woodford, added: “Getting stuck in the mud is an awful situation to be in and there are ways it can be avoided.

"Check the weather, stick to the paths, check the tide times and always look at local safety signage.

"We are always ready to respond to incidents, but it is just as important to be prepared in the first place.

"We ask that before you venture out, make sure that you are aware of our guidance on how to stay safe:

  • Always follow local warning signs
  • Don’t go out alone into unknown areas
  • Be aware of tide times and currents
  • Take a mobile phone with you
  • Stay on footpaths and keep dogs under control
  • If you do get caught out or come across someone stuck in mud – call 999 and ask for Coastguard and don’t go in the mud to help them

If you do find yourself in danger:

  • Try to stay calm and avoid movement
  • Spread your weight to stand evenly
  • Call loudly to attract attention
  • Call 999
  • Discourage others from attempting to rescue you

Ventnor Coastguard Rescue Team, who were also involved, took to social media to add: "Please take note of the advice. We’ve noticed an increase in mud rescue call-outs this year and we’re urging you to stay safe at the coast."