Coastguard criticise 'lost' crew

The two-man crew of a converted lifeboat who did not know how to operate their radio after getting lost have been criticised by the Coastguard.

The pair set off on the six-mile journey from the River Wear to the River Tyne on Saturday.

But the men phoned 999 shortly before 1800 GMT after becoming disorientated.

They were eventually towed to safety but Humber Coastguard's Mike Puplett said they did not know how to use their radio and lacked basic seamanship.

Basic knowledge

"This incident shows how important it is to have some basic knowledge and training before setting out to skipper a boat.

"Preparation such as logging a passage plan with us and knowing how to operate the radio might have prevented this incident from happening.

"We sent the Hartlepool inshore and all-weather RNLI lifeboats, the Sunderland lifeboat and the Sunderland and Hartlepool Coastguard Rescue Teams to search for this boat because of this lack of basic knowledge."