Huge numbers of people took advantage of flat seas in the stretch of water between the north coast of France and the south coast of England. Hundreds of migrants were intercepted in the Channel, while others managed to make it to shore on beaches. The record total on Wednesday easily surpasses the previous high of 235 migrant crossings, which was set on August 6.
More than 5,600 migrants have now crossed the sea to Britain during 2020, according to analysis from the PA news agency.
Around 1,450 migrants made the crossing by small boat in August, despite a vow from Home Secretary Priti Patel to make the dangerous route “unviable”.
High winds and rough seas triggered by Storm Francis at the end of last month made crossings extremely difficult for several days,
But weather conditions have improved significantly during the first few days of September.
Bright sunshine and improved conditions on Wednesday meant the French coastline was clearly visible from Dover throughout the day.
Dozens of migrants – packed onto Border Force patrol vessels and sitting on the front of lifeboats – were seen being brought into the busy Kent port, which is a popular crossing for large vessels between the two countries.
Some of the migrants smiled and waved to passers-by, while others were carrying young children who were too young to even walk.
Several empty dinghies were also towed in from the Channel by Border Force officials.
The surge of migrants arriving was so high that dozens of them remained on Border Force boats in the harbour for at least an hour before they could be allowed to disembark.
On Wednesday, Boris Johnson told the House of Commons the UK is a “target and magnet” for people traffickers.
He has vowed to change the law in an attempt to help tackle the migrant crisis.
During Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, Conservative Party MP Lee Anderson warned the asylum system is “broken and being abused”.
Mr Johnson replied: “I have a great deal of sympathy with those who are so desperate as to put their children in dinghies or even children’s paddling pools and try to cross the Channel.
“But I have to say what they’re doing is falling prey to criminal gangs and they are breaking the law.
“They’re also undermining the legitimate claims of others who would seek asylum in this country.
“That is why we will take advantage of leaving the EU by changing the Dublin regulations on returns and we will address the rigidities in our laws that make this country, I’m afraid, a target and a magnet for those who would exploit vulnerable people in this way.”
Last month, Home Secretary Ms Patel appointed former Royal Marine Dan O’Mahoney to the role of “Clandestine Channel Threat Commander”.
He is expected to be among those giving evidence about migrant crossings to the Home Affairs Committee on Thursday.