ILFRACOMBE and Appledore life boat stations were two of the busiest in the region this summer, the RNLI have said.
Despite an 8 per cent fall in lifeboat rescues across the whole of the South West, Devon saw its lifeboats launched 30 times more than last summer.
The RNLI said prolonged sunshine and the hottest summer in seven years has kept it extremely busy, seeing a 24 per cent increase in incidents for its lifeguards.
Across the whole of the South West, the RNLI dealt with 10,615 incidents between June and August, including water based rescues, major and minor first aids, and missing children.
Of the 652 lifeboat rescues, one of the more dramatic ones was carried out by Appledore lifeboat crews.
This video shows the crew of the all-weather lifeboat battled gale force conditions to help a yacht with engine failure in August.
The 23ft yacht was ten miles south west of Hartland Point with one sailor on board when it came up against five and a half metre waves and gale force winds.
It was unable to make enough headway to reach safety under sail and once the engine failed had called for help.
The lifeboat crew took the yacht under tow but due to the extreme conditions had to shelter at Clovelly until the wind had dropped and the tide had risen.
The dramatic rescue took fourteen hours.
Andy Hurley, RNLI regional operations manager, said:
“I’d like to pay tribute to all those volunteer fundraisers who have spent the summer bringing in the funds we need to keep our charity afloat and to all the families and employers of our lifeboat volunteers who support our work, even through busy times like the summer when crew can disappear at a moment’s notice to help save lives at sea.
“For the RNLI lifeguards this has been a particularly busy summer because of the superb weather and I’d like to thank them for their continued professionalism in keeping the beaches safe even when there have been many thousands of visitors on the sands and in the water.”