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Sunderland RNLI inshore lifeboat and beach lifeguards rescue two men from sea

Lifeboats News Release

RNLI beach lifeguards and volunteer lifeboat crew from Sunderland RNLI were this afternoon part of a rescue operation which took place to rescue two men who thrown into the sea from their boat which started to sink close to Roker Lighthouse.

Sunderland RNLI inshore lifeboat being recovered at the end of the rescue

RNLI/Paul Nicholson

Sunderland RNLI inshore lifeboat being recovered at the end of the rescue

At 3:09pm this afternoon lifeguards on duty in the local Lifeguard Operations Centre (LOC) spotted a vessel sinking close to Roker Lighthouse and immediately launched their rescue water craft (RWC) from Roker beach as well as notifying UK Coastguard to request backup from RNLI colleagues at Sunderland RNLI lifeboat station.

Coastguards immediately requested the launch of Sunderland RNLI’s D Class inshore lifeboat along with Officers from Sunderland Coastguard Rescue team, Northumbria Police, NE Ambulance, and a Coastguard search and rescue helicopter.

The RNLI lifeguard on board the RWC managed to recover the two men from the water and pull them onto the rescue board behind the RWC before transferring the men ashore into the care of lifeguards.

Once the men were safely ashore the RWC joined the D class inshore lifeboat searching the area for debris floating from the sunken vessel.

Paul Nicholson, Helmsman at Sunderland RNLI said: ‘These two men were extremely lucky that the incident happened while the beach lifeguards were on duty as they had no means of making an emergency distress call or wearing lifejackets and had to rely on the boats plastic fuel tank to keep themselves afloat until the lifeguard arrived.’

After completing a search of the area the RWC and the D class inshore lifeboat were stood down and cleared to return to base.

Paul added: ‘This incident highlights the importance of ensuring people carry some basic safety equipment when they head out to sea in boat.’

After receiving medical treatment at the scene the two men were transferred to Sunderland Royal Hospital suffering from Hypothermia.


Notes to editors

• Sunderland RNLI Lifeboat Station is the oldest continually operation lifeboat in the United Kingdom. It was originally opened in 1800 before being adopted by the RNLI in 1865.

• Sunderland RNLI Lifeboat Station operates its own website where supporters can keep up to date with station specific activities.

• Sunderland RNLI Lifeboat Station has a profile on Twitter (SunderlandRNLI) and Facebook (RNLI Sunderland) where supporters can keep up to date with station specific activities and news.

• Sunderland RNLI Lifeboat Station operates two inshore type lifeboats: An Atlantic 85 8.3m inflatable capable of 35 knots and a D Class (IB-1) 4.5m inflatable capable of 25 knots.

RNLI media contacts

For more information please telephone:

Paul Nicholson, Sunderland RNLI Press Officer on 07957 494 077 or email - or

Andy McGill, Sunderland RNLI Press Officer (Deputy) on 07980 089 622 or email -

As an alternative please contact RNLI Headquarters Public Relations on 01202 336000.

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