The latest coastguard figures indicate that there has been an increase in the number of accidents involving pleasure craft at sea.

Altogether over 4,700 people were helped by the rescue services last year in 1,802 incidents.

The increase in pleasure craft incidents is a reflection of the rising numbers of people taking up water activities, but a worrying trend, according to the coastguard.

There was a 15% increase in the number of calls for help from pleasure crafts (551 compared with 478 in 2004) and rescue services were called on 26 occasions to people who got into difficulty when diving.

RNLI Lifeboats were called out on 754 occasions during the year.

There were 27 pollution/salvage incidents in 2005. But hoax calls were down from 23 in 2004 to 20 in 2005.

However, the coastguard said that more people are wearing lifejackets, which it attributed to a raising of the level of awareness amongst the public for their own safety and checks by patrols. It said patrols would be carried out by coastguard boats with increasing frequency.