The RNLI attended multiple rescues and performed "major first aid" as lifeguards began patrolling beaches across Devon and Cornwall once more.

Lifeguards are back on duty across eight beaches in Cornwall and one in Devon after the charity's Chief Executive wrote to the government asking leaders to restrict access to beaches.

Mark Dowie's letter followed the deaths of two people in separate incidents on the Cornish coastline over the Bank Holiday weekend.

Despite repeated warnings from the charity about the dangers of visiting coastal areas without lifeguard cover, eased lockdown measures saw thousands flock to West Country beaches.

Mr Dowie said it had put the charity in an "impossible situation", forcing bosses to "choose between keeping the public or our lifeguards safe".

The RNLI said they responded to a number of rescues and performed 'major first aid' during their first weekend patrolling. Credit: Leon Bennett/RNLI

As lifeguards returned to the sand, the RNLI say patrols were kept busy with, "multiple rescues, major first aids and countless preventative actions whilst adhering to social distancing measures and wearing appropriate PPE."

One incident at Constantine Bay on Sunday, 31 May, afternoon, saw three water based rescues performed at the same time a member of the public was having a suspected heart attack.

Lifeguards also attended multiple incidents across the counties where swimmers were swept out to sea by strong off-shore winds, or rip currents.

RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor, Lloyd Davies said: "The lifeguard’s main task is prevention and over the weekend with the beautiful weather and clean waves brought hundreds of visitors to the beach.

"Our lifeguards were constantly talking to the public providing beach safety advice and keeping everybody safe."

The lifeguards are so pleased to be back on some of our beaches working closely with other emergency services to help keep our beaches as safe as we possibly can.

Leon Bennett, RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor
One of the beaches the lifeguards patrolled was Gwithian. Credit: Becky Bright/RNLI

The nine beaches the RNLI cover are:

  • Croyde Bay (Devon)

  • Gwithian

  • Fistral

  • Mawgan Porth

  • Polzeath

  • Constantine

  • Perranporth

  • Widemouth

  • Porthtowan

Anyone planning a visit to the coast should always follow RNLI safety advice:

  • Have a plan – check the weather forecast, tide times and read local hazard signage

  • Keep a close eye on your family – on the beach and in the water

  • Do not allow your family to swim alone

  • Do not use inflatables

  • 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