Recent approval has allowed for Croyde Bay to extend their RNLI lifeguard patrols every day throughout October, with the last day of the season on Sunday 1 November.
Despite the Coronavirus pandemic and the challenges posed by lockdown restrictions earlier in the year, the RNLI have provided lifeguard cover on 76 beaches across the South West this summer, with lifeguards recording a 100 per cent increase in the number of beach users in comparison with 2019, despite being on fewer beaches.
Like all beaches across the South West, Croyde has had a very busy summer, especially throughout July and August where we saw record numbers visiting the coast on a regular basis. September has also seen busy beaches, with high pressure, warm temperatures and southerly winds bringing a late-summer vibe.
Matt Whitley, RNLI Lead Lifeguard Supervisor for North Devon, says: “We are very grateful for the addition of lifeguard patrols at Croyde during the week, as well as at the weekends and during October half-term. There will be three lifeguards on duty so please make sure you listen to their safety advice and swim between the red and yellow flags.
“As we head into autumn, there tend to be regular swells, warm water temperatures and changeable weather patterns, so having a lifeguard presence at one of our most popular beaches will provide the preventative actions required to warn beach users of any dangers and keep people safe.
“This is in addition to Woolacombe beach which will also have cover at weekends and during the October half-term.”
Matt adds: “2020 has been unique in many ways for everyone, it has also been one of the busiest summers for our lifeguards on the beaches in the South West and, even at the beginning of September, our beach and water statistics were significantly greater in the first week of September compared with previous years.
“Staycation numbers have increased significantly, with many opting to use the beach and water – rain or shine – as a good open space to be outside but avoiding others.
“I’d like to thank Parkdean Resorts’ Ruda Holiday Park for its continued support with extending our lifeguard service.”
The RNLI will be providing additional lifeguard patrols from 10am-6pm at Croyde Bay until BST ends on 25 October, after which service will be affected by failing light.
Tom Mansell, Regional Lifesaving Lead, says: “We’d really encourage anyone planning on going in the water to head to one of the lifeguarded beaches around the region where lifeguards will be on hand to offer advice and they can enjoy their activity safely.
“Where there are no flags, there is no lifeguard service. Those who can’t make it to a lifeguarded beach can help keep themselves safe by taking note of the safety signage at the entrance to the beach, going with a friend or telling someone on the shore where they are going, at the same time always being aware of the conditions and their own capabilities in the water. Keep a close eye on your family – on the beach and in the water.
“Those who enjoy walking and exploring the coastline should check the weather forecast and local tide times before setting out and carry a means of communication.
“If you fall into the water unexpectedly, FLOAT TO LIVE. Fight your instinct to thrash around, lean back, extend your arms and legs, and float. In an emergency dial 999, and ask for the Coastguard”
PHOTO: Courtesy of RNLI MS