Police in North Devon are asking local residents and holiday-makers to take care this weekend as a Croyde Bay festival gets underway.

The Goldcoast Oceanfest event starts on Friday 16 June and continues all weekend at the popular surfing beach spot. Large numbers of festival goers are expected in the area.   

The weather forecast is for hot and sunny conditions and police are warning people of the dangers of being in the water under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Those travelling to the event are also being asked to check traffic routes and allow extra time for their journey. Remember to pack plenty of water and don’t leave children or animals in hot cars.   

Sector Inspector Rich Preston said “The summer is a busy time in North Devon with plenty of great events for local people and visitors to enjoy. We want everyone to have a good time and stay safe.

“We have fantastic beaches in North Devon that enable a wide range of water sport activities, however there are associated risks as well. I would actively encourage researching local beaches and consider choosing those that have RNLI Lifeguards patrolling and with flags indicating safe places to swim and surf.”

“Please also be aware of the increased risks associated with swimming and alcohol consumption, such as impaired judgement, reduced co-ordination and reaction times. This can put you and others in danger whilst also increasing the demands on all emergency services.”

“Therefore please be considerate, plan your activities and also take appropriate sun protection with you. This way you’ll enjoy our beautiful coastline without placing yourself or others at unnecessary risk.”

Sadly, alcohol is often a major factor in many water-related incidents over the summer, not just for swimmers but also kayakers, paddleboarders and jet skiers.

Anyone visiting the beach this weekend is advised to check local tide times and information before hitting the water. Even the most experienced of swimmers can get into trouble, so remember to respect the sea and surrounding areas. Try to swim at beaches with lifeguards and please only enter the water between the RNLI flags. 

There have been several tragedies and serious incidents already during the hot weather period in the South West and other parts of the UK.

For more information about tide times in Devon you can go to https://www.bbc.co.uk/weather/coast-and-sea/tide-tables/10

For advice on water safety you can also check the RNLI website (Float To Live) www.rnli.org and HM Coastguard www.hmcoastguard.uk