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Tynemouth and Cullercoats RNLI rescue a vessel in distress

Lifeboats News Release

On Wednesday 6th June, while returning from exercise, Tynemouth Lifeboat crew were requested to launch and assist a vessel with engine failure.

RNLI/Anna Heslop

Gren Sowerby Photography

The 19ft vessel, ‘Violet,’ had suffered mechanical failure and required assistance from the lifeboat. Although the inshore D-class lifeboat was on scene within five minutes, the tide had quickly pushed the casualty vessel dangerously close to the South Tyne Pier. As the D-class approached with two crew members onboard, the casualty vessel was washed up onto the side of the pier, leaving it high and dry. With the situation quickly becoming more severe, Tynemouth Lifeboat requested the assistance of Cullercoats Lifeboat, who had recently launched on exercise.

Luckily, as Cullercoats Lifeboat sped to the scene, another wave washed the casualty vessel back off the pier. From there, Tynemouth Lifeboat crew were able to establish a tow and bring the vessel to safety away from the pier. Cullercoats Lifeboat put one crew member onboard the vessel to assess the two persons onboard and stood by Tynemouth Lifeboat crew as they conducted the tow. Both persons were unharmed, wearing life jackets and thankful for the assistance of the crews. They had raised the alarm using a mobile phone, however we would recommend that all vessels carry a marine VHF radio as transmissions can be monitored by other vessels in the area. The vessel was taken to Royal Quays Marina and the two persons were provided with further safety advice. Once everyone was safe, both crews were stood down and returned to exercise.

All of the crew members at Tynemouth and Cullercoats are volunteers, as are 95% of the wider RNLI charity. Each crew member carries a pager, which alerts them to a ‘shout,’ and is willing to respond at any hour of the day or night with the sole purpose of saving lives at sea.

Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen, Carrybridge and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 or by email.


The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland