North Devon’s RNLI lifeguards have carried out dozens of rescues in a very busy start to the main summer holiday season.

Croyde has been particularly busy for its lifeguards this summer. Picture: RNLICroyde has been particularly busy for its lifeguards this summer. Picture: RNLI

The RNLI said a combination of the schools breaking up, recent heatwaves and good surf had kept the lifeguards very busy and on their toes.

Mid July saw lifeguards at Croyde Beach rescue 33 people in one afternoon when strong rip currents formed.

At Woolacombe beach, the additional lifeguard unit at Millrock is now open for peak season to keep people safe on this popular stretch of the beach.

In the remarkable sunny weather conditions on July 23, lifeguard Alex Hume responded to five swimmers caught in a rip current, using a rescue board to rescue a young girl who was struggling to float and guiding the other swimmers safely to shore.

Woolacombe has also been busy for RNLI lifeguards dealing with people caught in rip currents. Picture: Tony GussinWoolacombe has also been busy for RNLI lifeguards dealing with people caught in rip currents. Picture: Tony Gussin

The next day at Woolacombe, a flash rip current created challenging conditions and the inshore rescue boat was launched to rescue eight people who were in difficulty.

The RNLI said in the past month North Devon lifeguards had carried out multiple rescues of bodyboarders in rip currents after the person abandoned their board and tried to swim out of the current instead.

Instead, the charity warned that if you do get caught in a rip current while on a bodyboard, keep hold of the board as it will help you to float and give the lifeguards more time to reach you.

It said bodyboarders and swimmers should always remember to stay between the red and yellow flagged area of the beach.

On spring tides at Westward Ho! and Sandymere, lifeguards have been running roving patrols towards the estuary to make sure people are not getting cut off by the tide.

Anyone venturing further along the beach is advised to check the tide times beforehand to make sure they have plenty of time to get back.

Matt Whitley, North Devon's lead lifeguard supervisor, said: "Our lifeguards continue to be busy ensuring that people are staying safe at the coast by doing everything they can to prevent incidents from occurring, and carrying out quick, successful rescues when needed.

"As a lifeguard team we would like to say thank you to the public who have been very supportive and cooperative when there have been challenging conditions, it has been great to see that people are increasingly aware of the hazards at our beaches and how to stay safe."

READ MORE: Croyde lifeguards rescue 32 people in one afternoon .