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Drunk Swimmer Sparks Rescue

Lifeboats News Release

A drunk man swimming in the Tyne harbour sparked the launch of Tynemouth RNLI lifeboat and other emergency services early this morning.

Humber Coastguard received reports of the man swimming off the Fish Quay Sands, North Shields at 06:35 (Tuesday August 30th) and immediately requested the launch of Tynemouth RNLI inshore lifeboat. 

The lifeboat launched soon after the volunteer crew was paged and sped the short distance from the lifeboat station round to the beach where the swimmer was quickly found by the three crew members. The man was inebriated and initially refused to return to shore but with a few strong words from the lifeboat crew he was persuaded to return back to the beach where he was met by members of the Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade who were tasked to assist from shore..

The man then refused to leave the water as he was naked but once paramedics arrived he was wrapped in a thermal blanket and taken to an ambulance for assessment.

As the casualty was on shore the lifeboat stood down and returned to station.

Adrian Don, spokesman for Tynemouth RNLI, said: 'Taking a swim on a beautiful morning might have seemed like a good idea but alcohol and the sea don't mix. This could very easily have turned into a tragedy and getting the man out of the sea quickly was the priority. 

'Two years ago a man sadly drowned in similar circumstances just a few yards away from this location.'

'The RNLI aims to half coastal drownings by 2024 and comprehensive advice about staying safe in and around water can be found at'


Photo Caption: 30 Aug 2016 A man is helped to a waiting ambulance by members of the TVLB and paramedics after Tynemouth RNLI lifeboat volunteer crew members on board Tynemouth RNLI inshore lifeboat forced him to shore for his own safety. The man had been swimming off the Fish Quay sands, North Shields and it is thought he had been drinking heavily.  Please credit: Adrian Don/RNLI

For more information: Please contact Adrian Don, Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 07834 731833

Tynemouth RNLI lifeboat station was established in 1862 although there have been lifeboats on the river Tyne since the world's first purpose built lifeboat was launched here in 1790. The station has 30 volunteer crew members who come from all walks of life. We operate two lifeboats: The Severn class all weather lifeboat Spirit of Northumberland and our D class inshore lifeboat Mark Noble. We have a website at, and you can find us on Facebook at or follow us on Twitter @TynemouthRNLI

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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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