Tuesday afternoon (16 July) was extremely busy for RNLI lifeguards at Croyde as they rescued 32 people from rip currents within a five hour period.
After low tide at 12.30pm, very rip strong currents formed with changeable conditions which led to many people in the water requiring assistance. Between around 1.30pm and 3pm, 29 people were rescued, and an additional three people were rescued at around 5.40pm.
16 of those rescued were body boarding, along with 10 swimmers and six surfers.
In the challenging conditions, lifeguards had to move the red and yellow flagged areas multiple times in order to keep the public safe and avoid closing the beach.
Lifeguards conducted most of the rescues on rescue boards, and the rescue watercraft (RWC) was also in the water to assist with the rescues and encourage people to remain between the flags. On Tuesday, a large majority of the rescues were outside the red and yellow flagged area.
On a lifeguarded beach, swimmers and body boarders should stay between the red and yellow flags, while the black and white flags are best for surfers.
As well as closely monitoring the flagged areas of the beach, the lifeguards also positioned an additional truck at a dangerous area of the beach so that they could prevent people from entering the water where conditions were not safe.
The Croyde lifeguard team on Tuesday was made up of Josh Simpson, Jordan Raymond, Alfie Berry, Sean Deasy, Tom Hutchens and Kane Shaw.
Lifeguard supervisor Gary Sinkevicius also came down to Croyde to assist the team given the extraordinarily busy conditions.
Matthew Whitley, Lead Lifeguard Supervisor for North Devon, said: “Josh Simpson – our senior lifeguard at Croyde – deserves real credit for working so hard and leading such a strong lifeguard team in challenging conditions.
“The whole team worked together to keep people safe and they did a great job.
“Visiting the beach is an ideal activity during the summer but we always advise people to visit a lifeguarded beach so that if something does go wrong, help is at hand.
“When visiting Croyde in particular, please have a quick chat to the lifeguards when you arrive at the beach to find out about the hazards as there are often challenging conditions.
“Also make sure you read any signs the lifeguards have positioned on the beach – they are there for a reason!”