A fishing boat became marooned in low tide between two Wearside piers.
The vessel was spotted getting into difficulty between the old north pier and south pier, off the coast at Roker, at 1.34pm yesterday.
Roger Simpson called Humber Coastguard after noticing the boat was in distress and members of the Sunderland RNLI also attended the scene.
He said: "I rang the coastguard as a fishing boat was in difficulty. All seemed to get safely to the shore but the coastguard were still trying free it."
The coastguard said all five people on board were fine and the boat was towed back to the harbour a short while later.
A spokesman said: "Once the high waters returned the boat was towed back to the harbour. All five people on board were fine."