Page last updated at 14:35 GMT, Sunday, 13 July 2008 15:35 UK

More lifeguards to patrol beaches

Lifeguard on Perranporth beach, Cornwall
The RNLI says families should make beach safety a priority

The number of beaches with lifeguards in Cornwall and Devon has increased as the peak summer season begins.

The Royal National Lifeboat Institute now provides safety patrols on 57 beaches in Cornwall and 13 in Devon.

About 5% of people choose a beach for its safety features, a survey carried out on behalf of the RNLI found.

Last year lifeguards in the region saved more than 60 lives and helped over 9,500 people. It said safety should be a priority for beachgoers.

Steve Instance, RNLI divisional inspector for lifeguards said: "Safety should be a key consideration for the public when choosing which beach to visit, especially families and groups with children.

"Many people equate beach cleanliness with beach safety, but this does not take into account 'invisible' hazards such as tides, currents and offshore winds."

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