New signs will warn of the dangers of Morecambe Bay sands

The Westmorland Gazette: New signs will warn of the dangers of Morecambe Bay sands New signs will warn of the dangers of Morecambe Bay sands

A GRANT of more than £2,000 has been earmarked for new coastal warning signs alerting people to the dangers of the peril- ous Morecambe Bay Sands.

Cumbria County Council announced that £2,440 would be made available to put up eight signs at coastline locations from Arnside to Bela Weir, near Milnthorpe.

The move comes almost a year after The Westmorland Gazette launched its ‘Safety on the Sands’ campaign to heighten awareness of the potentially-treacherous Morecambe Bay area.

The fast-rising incoming tides, unpredictable quicksands and shifting channels, make the sands some of the most dang-erous in the UK. The campaign saw thousands of posters distributed to businesses across South Lakeland and north Lancashire.

It was launched after two holidaymakers had to be resc-ued by coastguards within a fortnight of each other when they found themselves trapped in quicksand.

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Coun Ian Stewart, for the Kent Estuary division, has used some of his divisional allocation to pay for the signs.

“I’ve always supported the need for people to recognise the danger of the sands,” he said.

“Last year we saw a couple of people get stuck on them, and I said I would ensure there was better signage on the south shore.”

When ‘Safety on the Sands’ launched, some rescue volunt-eers criticised some of the Bay’s 60 warning signs as being ‘old’ and ‘tatty’.

The locations of the new signs have yet to be decided, but the announcement was welcomed by Bay Search and Rescue train- ing officer Mike Davis, who said: “Any money being thrown at this problem has got to be a benefit.

“Unfortunately, the majority of people who do go wandering out are the impossible ones who are always going to put them-selves at risk. But more signs, and more advice, are a very positive move if they choose their locations carefully.

“We’ve had a fairly consistent year, but recently we’ve had a few incidents where locals have been cut off by the tide, so it’s going to be an interesting summer if we continue to get this warm weather.”

Arnside Coastguard Station Officer Nigel Capstick said: “Anything that promotes safety on the bays is a good thing.

“We always encourage any signs, as long as they are corr-ectly written and have the message for people to dial 999 and ask for coastguard.”

Mr Capstick said that, with summer approaching, the team had been ‘very busy’ over the past two months, “particularly with people being cut off by the tide, or quicksand-related incidents.”

“I still think there’s a lot of work to do in terms of raising awareness. The signs are great, but what we’re also trying to do is urge local people to inform tourists of the dangers of the sands.”

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