Highest number of small boat migrant crossings in single day of 2023 recorded

More than 800 migrants crossed the English Channel in small boats on Saturday. Credit: PA

More than 800 migrants crossed the English Channel in small boats on Saturday, the highest number on a single day so far this year.

Some 872 people crossed on 15 small vessels, according to the latest provisional government data, suggesting an average of around 58 people per boat.

The previous high for 2023 was when 756 people made crossings on August 10.

At least 20,973 migrants have succeeded in crossing the Channel since Rishi Sunak pledged to "stop the boats" at the start of 2023.

But the total for the year so far is still lower than this time last year, when 25,000 people had already made the journey.

The record high for a single day since current records began in 2018 is still 1,295 on August 22 2022.

Saturday’s arrivals mean 1,172 people made the journey so far this week with crossings recorded on just two out of six days, after 300 migrants arrived on Tuesday.

Labour Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said the prime minister has "badly broken his promise" on cutting illegal immigration and on "the Conservatives failure to get any grip has allowed criminal smuggler gangs to take hold on Britain’s borders".

She attacked his anti-immigration policies, which include a yet-to-begin plan to detain almost everyone who enters the UK illegally and deport them to Rwanda.

Figures will be published on Monday for any crossings which took place on Sunday.

Total arrivals last year were 45,774, compared with the previously documented 45,755, according to the latest available Home Office data.

It comes after the average number of migrants crossing the Channel per boat hit a new monthly high in August, when some 5,369 people made the journey in in 102 boats – an average of around 53 migrants per vessel.

This was the highest monthly average since records began in 2018, according to PA news agency analysis of provisional Government data.

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