The Manual - How To Escape From Quicksand

Morecambe Bay is one of the most infamous quicksand areas in the world. Over its 122 square miles, pockets appear and disappear twice a day, with the incoming and outgoing tides. Here's how to tackle the situation if you find yourself sinking fast...

1. Don't panic. If you step into a patch of quicksand, and your leading foot sinks, don't take another step. Instead take the weight of the foot that's stuck by sitting down in the sand and leaning back. Spreading your weight is the best way of preventing further immersion. And if you have a rucksack, now's the time to put it between your body and the sand.

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2. Lose the shoes. Getting humans out of quicksand is more difficult than many animals as the human leg has a 90-degree bend at the end of it that acts as an anchor in the sand. Removing shoes or wellington boots will reduce this angle and so ease escape.

3. Take your time. At this stage you still have a very good chance of self-extraction, but it will be very hard work and you will get tired quickly by struggling too much, so pace yourself.

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4. Stay wrapped up. Even on a warm day if you get wet you can become severely hypothermic in a relatively short time. If you have spare dry clothing in a rucksack, put it on.

5. And roll. Once you have got your leg or legs free of the sand, crawling or rolling are both good methods of moving without sinking again.

By Gary Parsons, station officer at Morecambe Bay Search and Rescue
For more, see www.baysearchandrescue.org.uk