Busy year for North Devon’s lifeboats and lifeguards

Joseph Bulmer

RNLI figures released today once again prove the worth of rescue charity on the region’s coasts and beaches.

IT has been another busy year for RNLI lifeboat crews and lifeguards in the water and on the beaches of North Devon.

Lifeboats at Ilfracombe, Appledore and Clovelly made a total of 92 launches and spent a combined 3,017 hours at sea, latest figures from the charity published today (Tuesday) reveal.

The beaches once again proved busy, with RNLI lifeguards across North Devon and Torridge districts dealing with 914 incidents, assisting 1,207 people and saving two lives.

Ilfracombe was the busiest lifeboat station, with 41 launches and 44 people assisted, an increase on 2010.

It was a “quiet” year by Appledore standards, with 36 launches and 11 assists, compared with 62 for last year and 78 in 2009.

Clovelly launched five times, the same number as the previous year.

Woolacombe remained the busiest beach in the county and also the fourth busiest in the country, with 463 incidents.

Combined with the other North Devon beach of Croyde it resulted in 808 incidents, with 1,092 people helped and two lives saved. In 2010 this was 823 and the charity said its lifeguards had saved five lives.

The two Torridge two beaches of Sandymere and Westward Ho! saw 106 incidents and 115 people helped, compared with 123 incidents and 130 people assisted plus one life saved in 2010.

Adrian Carey, RNLI divisional inspector, said the figures illustrated the continuing commitment of the charity’s teams across the South West:

“The statistics show just how dedicated our lifeboat crew volunteers and our lifeguards are in the region, providing cover in foul weather and fair.

“That dedication also applies to the families of our lifeboat and lifeguard teams who provide unwavering support, even in the busy summertime when they are trying to enjoy their holidays too.

“I must also pay tribute to the overwhelming generosity of the public who continue to provide valuable support for our charity despite the current economic pressures.”