Parents are being urged to make safety their top priority when they visit beaches in the north of England.
The RNLI said its lifeguards and lifeboat crews had more than 1,800 call-outs in 2010, rescuing more than 1,700 people and saving 39 lives.
The charity said despite that, many people did not consider safety when choosing which beach to go to.
It said it was particularly important for parents after helping 230 lost children on North beaches last year.
The RNLI said in the north of England last year its lifeguards were called to 1,617 incidents, helped 1,694 people and saved 19 lives.
And lifeboat crews launched to 244 beach-related incidents, rescuing 90 people and saving 20 lives.
RNLI Beach Safety Programmes Manager Ross Macleod said: "When planning a trip to the beach, the RNLI's advice is to choose a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags, which is the area most closely monitored by the lifeguards."
He said for people going to a beach without lifeguards, advice included checking weather and tide times.