Page last updated at 08:39 GMT, Monday, 28 July 2008 09:39 UK

Rescuers issue summer sea alert

North Sea rescue
Bad weather hampered rescuers

A safety alert has been issued to pleasure boat users after a string of rescues off the North East coast.

Rescuers warned sailors to be better prepared after bad weather sparked a number of emergencies at the weekend.

In one a young boy was among a group of seven from South Shields rescued off the Sunderland coast after setting off without a radio, anchor or flares.

In another incident two men were rescued after their small boat sank on the way to view the Sunderland airshow.

The RNLI said an "ill-prepared" speed boat crew had to be rescued in thick fog from the North Sea on Saturday.

Fuel can

The owners had purchased the vessel from South Shields and were sailing it to Sunderland when it broke down.

Although the seven occupants, including a young boy, were wearing lifejackets, they did not have a marine VHF radio, anchor or flares.

On Sunday, two men who left South Shields to view the Sunderland International Airshow from the sea, were found clinging to a plastic fuel can after their boat - named the Drowning Rat - sank.

They were airlifted to hospital and treated for hypothermia.

Mist and fog hampered the rescue operation.

A spokesperson for the RNLI said: "This demonstrates the need to go to sea only when properly prepared."

He urged sailors to carry VHF marine radio, flares and life jackets.


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