A busy weekend for Ilfracombe RNLI saw them called to numbers of kayakers in distress on Sunday morning.

The alarm was raised by two off-duty RNLI volunteer crew members out on local sea safari vessel Lundy Explorer when they saw multiple kayakers in difficulty near Combe Martin Bay.

Both the all-weather lifeboat The Barry and Peggy High Foundation, and the inshore lifeboat Deborah Brown II were launched at 11.50am. As they entered the bay they found as many as 50 kayaks out on the water, with the crew checking on groups to ensure they did not need help.

Local charter vessels had come to the assistance of a number of kayakers. Two had been taken aboard Adventure Ribs and a third had been taken aboard Reel Deal. The latter was not wearing a buoyancy aid or a wetsuit and had lost his kayak, which had blown away in the breeze.

Another two kayakers had been escorted back to the beach by Lundy Explorer.

The inshore lifeboat returns with a karak. Picture: Sophie Braund.The inshore lifeboat returns with a karak. Picture: Sophie Braund.

The in-shore boat was then tasked to Egg Rock near Broadsands beach where two kayakers were out of their boats and on the rocks. They had been assisted back to the beach by members of the public, with the boat retrieving a missing kayak.

The kayakers from the two charter vessels were transferred safely onto the all-weather lifeboat and were checked over by the crew, with the lifebaot returning to Ilfracombe harbour at around 1.30pm.

RNLI coxswain Andrew Bengey said: “The forecast was for a fresh easterly wind and as the tide turned the waves started to increase. The kayakers who had gone further outside the bay found themselves in difficulties.

“If you are going out onto the water on any leisure craft we would advise that you speak to local people to understand the conditions in the area and also check the tide timetables and weather forecasts before heading out.

“We would always urge people to wear buoyancy aids or lifejackets when venturing out on the water and carry a means of calling for help.”

Saturday (August 8) saw the volunteer crew called out twice, starting with a shout to reports of a man in the water at Combe Martin at 8am.

The man had been rescued and taken aboard a fishing vessel, and was unharmed.

They were paged again shortly after 7pm to people cut off by the tide at Egg Rock.

The two people were assisted aboard the lifeboat and taken back to the beach where they were met by Ilfracombe Coastguard.

Inshore lifeboat helm Gillian Cole said: “We would urge people walking or exploring around the bays and beaches here in North Devon to always check the tide timetables before setting out as the tide can come in very quickly and it is easy to get caught out.

“The people stranded today had a mobile phone and were able to call for assistance. We would always recommend that people carry a means of calling for help and if they get into difficulties dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.”