Sunderland & Tynemouth RNLI assist in the rescue of windsurfer in 60mph winds

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Archive image in calm weather

Date: 29/11/2015
Author: Paul Nicholson

Lifeboat volunteers from Sunderland and Tynemouth RNLI Station were called into action earlier this afternoon (Sunday 29 November) to assist a windsurfer who was in difficulty in the water at Seaburn after becoming separated from his board in 60mph winds

The rescue mission was launched shortly after 12:45pm when Coastguard Officers based at Humber Coastguard Marine Rescue Coordination Centre received a 999 emergency telephone call reporting the windsurfer in distress off Seaburn beach.

Officers immediately contacted Sunderland RNLI to request the launch of their Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat Wolseley. In addition Tynemouth RNLI All Weather lifeboat was also diverted to attend the incident from South Shields where they had completed an earlier incident. A shore based Coast Response Team from Sunderland Coastguard station was also tasked to the scene to assist from the shore.

The lifeboat launched seven minutes crewed by Helmsman Ian Rowan and another three volunteer crew.
Ian Rowan, Helmsman at Sunderland RNLI said: ‘As we launched wind speeds were gusting up to 60mph in an offshore direction, so we knew we had to locate the surfer as quickly as possible.’

Thankfully as the emergency teams arrived at Seaburn they discovered that the surfer had been able to make his way back into shallow waters. Once the surfer was safely ashore the emergency teams were stood down from the incident and cleared to return to station.

Ian added ‘Thankfully on this occasion everything ended without further incident; we encourage everyone talking part in water or coastal activities to check the weather forecast regularly and be aware of squally weather patterns when the wind speed can change drastically in a short period of time as it did today.

The RNLI urges anyone going to sea to be especially careful in poor conditions. Our ‘Respect the Water’ campaign aims to half coastal drownings by 2024 by educating people about the danger of water. Comprehensive information about staying safe at the coast can be found at

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

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