• Skip to content
  • Cookies
  • College
  • Shop
  • Safety
  • Education
  • News Centre
  • Recruitment
  • Contact us
Content anchor

Print this page PDF this page

Cullercoats RNLI lifeboat responds to distress flare

About the author

Image of Michael Scott

Michael Scott
Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer

Lifeboats News Release

  • Date:
  • Author: Michael Scott

At 10.25am on Sunday 7 October, Cullercoats RNLI lifeboat was directed from exercise to respond to a distress signal from a vessel one mile east north east of the North Pier of the River Tyne.

Humber Coastguard received a call from a member of the public who had seen a red flare distress signal out to sea near the mouth of the River Tyne.

The volunteer crew (Paul Tooke, Helmsman, Steve Raymond and Andy Small) were on the scene within five minutes of receiving the call.

The boat, named Maria, had six people on board from Newcastle, Gateshead and Sunderland, one of which was a five-year-old child and had reported an engine fire and the boat had also taken in some water. Consequently they were fears that the boat may sink.

Once at the scene, the RNLI lifeboat crew ascertained that the fire was out and they ensured that the boat was in a stable condition. However, the crew decided to take three of the casualties aboard the lifeboat to ensure safety as the boat was sitting very low in the water and risked taking on more water.

Cullercoats RNLI lifeboat then escorted the boat safely back to South Shields at 10.50am before returning back to its training exercise.

Paul Tooke, Helmsman Cullercoats RNLI lifeboat said: ‘The skipper of the Maria followed the correct procedure by firing a distress flare which enabled us to respond quickly and effectively. We are pleased that they were all safely returned to South Shields.’

RNLI media contacts
For more information please telephone Michael Scott, RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 07906 632598 or Alison Levett, RNLI Public Relations Manager North 07786 668912 or alison_levett@rnli.org.uk or contact RNLI Public Relations on 01202 336789

Back to News Centre

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 Republic of Ireland from 237 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 180 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.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

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