THE wet summer has meant West Bay RNLI lifeguards have not been as busy on the beaches as last year.

But in contrast the RNLI Lyme lifeboat was called out 45 times – 15 times more than in 2011 and assisted 41 people, up 18.

They spent 543 hours at sea and carried out 16 shouts in dark.

The RNLI’s flood rescue team had its busiest year on record, being called out all 11 times, including during November’s floods when local volunteers Tim Edwards and Martin Croad were sent to Bridgwater in Somerset.

They were also sent to Lostwithiel in Cornwall, along with helmsman Elliott Herbert, in December’s floods and helped to rescue 12 people, two dogs and six cats. RNLI regional operations manager Andy Hurley said: “The figures illustrate just how dedicated our volunteer crews and our lifeguards are.”

Mr Hurley said most call-outs in the south west were to sailing and power boats with machinery failure.

“I’m delighted to say the numbers are down which I hope means our prevention messages are getting through to people.

“However, we have seen a rise in the number of fishing boats needing our assistance and in rescues of people ashore, that’s folk who are perhaps injured, trapped or cut off by the tide around the shore and cliffs.”

The RNLI’s annual SOS fundraising day is on Friday, January 25.