RESCUERS had another frantic weekend along the Dorset coast as thousands of visitors hit the beaches as the heatwave continued.

Across the UK, coastguards dealt with 340 individual incidents on Saturday - the highest amount of call-outs in a single day for well over four years.

In west Dorset, the Lyme Regis lifeboat was called to rescue two people aboard a fishing boat that was taking on water on Saturday.

On the way back from that incident, they were sent to rescue two men who were on an inflatable drifting out to sea, last seen three miles offshore at Abbotsbury.

A Lyme Regis Lifeboat spokesman said: "The men were in danger, drifting on a strong current, and were taken on board the lifeboat with their dinghy. They were safe and well and taken by the lifeboat to Abbotsbury where they were met by local coastguards."

Elsewhere, incidents ranged from a kite surfer being rescued in Portland Harbour after the wind died down, a teenager suffering a medical episode at Durdle Door, and a person slipping on the rocks at Kimmeridge Bay and suffering a nasty, deep gash to their head. The casualty had lost consciousness momentarily and was taken to hospital for treatment.

Paramedics and coastguards were called to Worbarrow Bay on Saturday, when a man fell unconscious after a snorkelling trip.

Packed coastlines and beaches saw Coastguard Rescue Teams attend 221 incidents around the UK on Saturday. Both the RNLI and independent lifeboats were called out 155 times combined and aircraft were also used to assist 30 times.

HM Coastguard responded to 186 999 calls on Saturday and coordinated search and rescue responses to a wide-range of incidents, which included people being cut off by the tide and children swept out to sea on inflatables.

In total, the service rescued 146 people and assisted a further 371 people. Saturday’s incident count of 340 surpassed the previous busiest day over the past few years, Friday July 31, when the coastguard recorded 329 incidents across the UK.

HM Coastguard Deputy Head of Coastal Operations Richard Hackwell said: “We have seen a big rise in incident numbers this weekend as more people visit coastal areas and head to the beach. We understand that people want to have fun at the coast and enjoy the heatwave but we urge everyone to respect the sea and take responsibility in helping to ensure the safety of themselves, friends and family.

“We’re heading into a period of more good weather so we want to remind you to check and double check tide times as even the most experienced swimmer or keen watersports enthusiast can get caught out by currents and tides. Plan your day out, always exercise caution and make sure you have a way of contacting us if you get into trouble.”