Busy summer for the RNLI in North Devon

WOOLACOMBE remained the busiest beach in North Devon for the RNLI lifeguards this summer after they dealt with 357 incidents. Early figures released by the charity show the number of rescues remain high, although the beach safety message seems to be getti

WOOLACOMBE remained the busiest beach in North Devon for the RNLI lifeguards this summer after they dealt with 357 incidents.

Early figures released by the charity show the number of rescues remain high, although the beach safety message seems to be getting through and the number has dropped from 428 last year.

It still makes Woolacombe the third busiest beach in the South West for the RNLI.

Meanwhile, Appledore Lifeboat Station was the second busiest in the whole peninsula, with 40 launches so far for 2009.


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"There are indications that people have chosen to spend their 'staycation' in the South West, with busy beaches and plenty of people out on the water," said Adrian Carey, RNLI Divisional Inspector for the South Division.

"While the overall number of call outs the volunteer lifeboat crews had is slightly lower than 2008, some individual stations have had particularly busy summers."

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And Steve Instance, RNLI Divisional Inspector for Lifeguards in the South West, said beach users should still think "safety" at all times.

"We're delighted more and more people are taking note of the beach safety messages the charity works hard to get across, but it is essential that beach users don't get complacent as conditions can suddenly become dangerous," he said.

"Warm weather at the beginning of the school holidays in August coincided with spring tides and big surf conditions along the north coasts of Devon and Cornwall.

"With thousands flocking to the beaches, RNLI lifeguards worked hard to make sure people could have fun in the water while taking action if conditions changed. Despite these efforts there were still a number of 'mass rescues' over the season."

The RNLI offers free all-year-round safety advice for sea users and beach visitors at www.rnli.org.uk.

As a charity, it relies totally on the generosity of the public to fund its services. It costs �1,200 per year to train a crew member and �1,000 per season to train and equip a lifeguard.

Anyone wishing to make a donation to the charity can log on to www.rnli.org.uk or call 0800 543210. Alternatively write to RNLI, West Quay Road, Poole, Dorset, BH15 1HZ.

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