Lifeguards busier than ever as more people put toes in water

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A new lifeguard team operating at a surfing mecca aided more people than any other beach on Yorkshire’s East Coast, figures show.

Between July and early September patrols at Cayton Bay helped 167 people, assisting 20 mostly surfers and bodyboarders back to shore.

Bridlington South’s lifeguard team was the busiest in the north of England in terms of numbers of incidents, attending 137 and aiding 143 people, according to figures published by the RNLI today.

Lifeguard manager Chris Ward said lifeguard teams would be back this season three weeks early on the May Bank Holiday weekend reflecting a surge in popularity for water sports. He said: “Surfing you can expect between 50 and 70 people in the water and on a weekend there’s water craft, stand up paddleboats and kayacking, traditional as well as new sports, it’s very popular. More people are entering the water, wet suits are keeping people warmer and equipment is much cheaper.”

Statistics show Whitby was the busiest lifeboat station on Yorkshire’s East Coast in the past year, launching 55 times.

Bridlington Lifeboat was the next busiest with 33 launches followed by Humber Lifeboat (26)

In all the eight lifeboat stations rescued 240 people.

Overall, however, it was an average year, a similar picture to 2013, probably due to the weather. “In warmer summers we have seen increases in lifeboat rescues,” an RNLI spokeswoman said.

Some 34.5 per cent of RNLI lifeboat rescues were to recreational craft (354); 22.5 per cent were to people ashore (233); 17 per cent to people in the water (174) and 16 per cent to fishing vessels (164).

Just under a quarter of all call-outs were as a result of machinery failure, with people in danger of drowning the second most common cause (13 per cent).

A further 75 people (seven per cent) needed rescuing after getting cut off by the tide.