Sunderland RNLI rescue three adults after starter cord snaps on outboard engine

Lifeboats News Release

Earlier this evening volunteers from Sunderland RNLI lifeboat station launched to assist three adults who were left drifting on a small boat after its outboard engines starter cord snapped.

Sunderland RNLI D Class inshore lifeboat

RNLI/Paul Nicholson

Sunderland RNLI D Class inshore lifeboat

The rescue mission was launched at 18:20pm this evening (17 May) when Coastguard Officers based at Humber Coastguard Marine Rescue Coordination Centre received an emergency call from the crew onboard the small boat reporting that they had broken down and were drifting on the River Wear towards the new Northern Spire bridge.

Coastguards immediately contacted Sam Surtess, Deputy Launching Authority at Sunderland RNLI to request the launch of the charities D Class inshore lifeboat.

The lifeboat launched 10 minutes later under the command of Luke McGill along with another two volunteer crew.

The volunteer crew quickly located the vessel before taking it in tow back to South Hylton Slipway.

Luke McGill, Helmsman at Sunderland RNLI said: ‘Thankfully the crew onboard the boat had a working mobile phone which had stayed dry allowing them to make an emergency ‘999’ telephone call. We always recommend boat owners carry marine VHF radio’s as their primary form of calling for help as they are much more reliable and will also ensure any other vessels nearby are also aware that someone is in difficulty nearby.’

For further information about how to keep yourself safe on the water go to the RNLI website (

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


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 RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and, in a normal year, more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.