Both Tynemouth lifeboats were requested to launch at 16:30 after several members of the public made 999 calls to Humber Coastguard reporting a small inflatable dinghy in trouble several hundred yards out to sea off Marsden Bay, South Shields.
The lifeboats arrived on scene and the volunteer crews started searching for a dinghy matching the description given to them.
The inshore lifeboat soon located a 10ft dinghy that had just beached in the bay and on investigation discovered it was partially deflated and had been sinking. A 39 year old man and his 9 year old son were on board, and had no lifejackets or other safety equipment whatsoever. They could easily have drowned if their boat – in reality a toy – had sunk further offshore. In addition, the high tide and persistant north easterly winds had generated a moderate swell that could have swamped the dinghy.
Words of advice were given to the man and the lifeboats then returned to station. Sunderland Coastguard Rescue Team, who had been in attendance on shore also gave advice to the man.
Lifeboats: 17-20 Spirit of Northumberland and D-720 Norma and Bill Burleigh