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Sunderland RNLI rescue divers separated from dive boat with engine failure

About the author

Image of Paul Nicholson

Paul Nicholson
Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer

Lifeboats News Release

  • Date:
  • Author: Paul Nicholson

Sunderland RNLI rescue divers separated from dive boat with engine failure

Last night lifeboat volunteers from Sunderland RNLI Lifeboat Station took part in a rescue mission to assist a group of four men after their dive boat suffered a mechanical fault causing the boats crew to be separated from the divers who were in the water off Hendon, Sunderland.

The rescue mission was launched shortly after 7:50pm last night (Thursday 16 June) when Coastguard Officers based at Humber Coastguard Marine Rescue Coordination Centre received an emergency VHF radio call from the crew of the dive boat stating that their vessel was drifting without power; leaving two divers in the water unsupported.

Officers immediately contacted the Lifeboat Operations Manager at Sunderland RNLI to request the launch of their Atlantic 85 and D Class inshore lifeboats as well as tasking their own Coastguard Rescue Team from Seaham.

Paul Nicholson, Senior Helmsman at Sunderland RNLI said, ‘After arriving alongside the broken down dive boat our priority was to locate and recover the two divers had become separated from the boat’.

The two divers were quickly located about half a mile away and assisted from the water and onto the inshore lifeboat before being taken ashore to safety.

The Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat then returned to sea to take the 15ft dive boat and its 2 two crew (Roker, Sunderland) in tow before taking it back to Sunderland Marina slipway.

Paul added: ‘Today demonstrates why it is important for dive groups to be both well equipped and trained. This group did everything possible to enable us to carry out a swift rescue of both the divers in the water and the dive boat with its crew’.

As a registered charity the RNLI relies on voluntary donations and legacies from the public for its income.


Video - A 2 minute video clip of actual rescue footage is available for use by the media. Credit - RNLI

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 www.rnlisunderland.org 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 either:

Paul Nicholson, Sunderland RNLI Press Officer on 07957 494 077 or email - pauldnich@yahoo.co.uk or

Anthony Jobling, Sunderland RNLI Assistant Press Officer on 07977 152 399 or email – anthonyjobling@sky.com

As an alternative please contact Alison Levett, Media Relations Manager North on 07786 668 912 or alevett@rnli.org.uk or RNLI Headquarters Public Relations on 01202 336000.

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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