Busy summer for North Devon’s lifesavers

It has been a busy summer for the RNLI lifeguards on North Devon beaches, as well as their counterpa

It has been a busy summer for the RNLI lifeguards on North Devon beaches, as well as their counterparts aboard the charity's lifeboats. - Credit: Archant

The RNLI sees incidents rise by a quarter after the first ‘proper’ summer for seven years.

THE region’s RNLI lifesavers have dealt with a busy summer as incidents leapt up by almost a quarter thanks to the hot weather.

Provisional statistics released today (Monday) show a 24 per cent increase of incidents for RNLI lifeguards, and lifeboat crews, who attended 652 rescues from June to August.

Appledore lifeboat was called out 43 times during the three months, compared with 33 for last year, whole Ilfracombe attended 41 shouts compared with 37 for 2012.

The ‘snapshot’ figures do not give a detailed break down of the region’s beaches, but RNLI lifeguards in the area from Bude to Woolacombe dealt with 1,328 incidents, compared with 1,284 in 2012.

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Lifeguards across the South West as a whole dealt with 10,615 incidents across the south west, including water based rescues, major and minor first aids and missing children.

Andy Hurley, RNLI regional operations manager, said the results illustrated ‘the first proper summer’ in the South West for seven years: “The warm temperatures and sunshine attracted huge numbers of people to the region’s most popular beaches, which explains why our lifeguard teams were kept so busy.”

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Examples include Croyde lifeguards rescuing 15 people on the Sunday of August bank holiday weekend, after they were caught in a rip current and swept out to sea. The team had a busy day on the Monday too.

On August 17 Appledore’s all weather lifeboat fought gale force winds and high seas to save a yacht with engine failure 10 miles off Hartland, towing the stricken vessel to safety during a 14 hour rescue in horrendous conditions.

Ilfracombe RNLI crews notched up their 50th shout of the year in August, which saw a busy period of five rescues in four days. These included rescuing local trawler Our Josie Grace, adrift some 25 miles from Ilfracombe, two yachts with engine failure and kayakers in trouble.

* Watch the vide above of Appledore’s all weather lifeboat helping a yacht in rough seas. Credit: RNLI.

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