Port of Sunderland safety patrol crew urge people to 'stay safe' in the water after saving a person's life

Two patrol boats will be deployed during busy periods over the summer and spring.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

The Port of Sunderland’s water patrol service is urging members of the public to “stay safe” and become fully aware of the dangers of the water following a weekend incident when safety officers and vessels were deployed to save a life near the Wearmouth Bridge.

The patrol vessel on operation in the harbour area.The patrol vessel on operation in the harbour area.
The patrol vessel on operation in the harbour area.

While it may still feel like winter, summer is just around the corner and as temperatures increase then so to does the amount of people using the water.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Recent years has seen an increase in people in the harbour and Roker Beach areas as more people take-up sports such as paddle-boarding, surfing, sea kayaking, open water swimming and pleasure boating.

Out on patrol on the River Wear.Out on patrol on the River Wear.
Out on patrol on the River Wear.

Matthew Hunt, director of Port of Sunderland, said: “Incidents of a serious nature are uncommon, but one is too many, and whilst we may have seen a positive outcome at the weekend, we once again urge members of the public to learn the dangers of the water, and to stay safe.”

And it’s not just responding call-outs, as starting this month (April) the patrol boat is now routinely operating in and around the harbour, Roker Beach and lower stretches of the River Wear.

As well as offering advice to people on the water, the boat and crew is also on hand to help anyone who gets into difficulties.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
Matthew Hunt, director at Port of Sunderland.Matthew Hunt, director at Port of Sunderland.
Matthew Hunt, director at Port of Sunderland.

Mr Hunt added: “Our patrol boats are out and seen regularly on the water, but we are increasing the frequency even further during busy periods given the rising number of people using the water.

“We take their safety extremely seriously, so officers will be visible and on hand to offer professional guidance and support to those who may be in or entering prohibited areas, not adhering to Port byelaws, or putting themselves and others in potential danger.”

While the patrol boats may be deployed at any busy time of the year - particularly when the sun is out and temperatures are warm - key periods of operation include weekends, bank holidays and school holidays in order to “maintain the highest possible safety standards during busy periods”.

The patrol boats comprise two inflatable vessels; ‘Sentinel’ and ‘Patrol’, both of which will be deployed from 10am-6pm during high-activity periods until the start of September.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Either one will cover stretches of the Wear upriver from South Biddick down to the Wearmouth Bridge, and out to the harbour and twin piers.

Port of Sunderland is one of the few northern ports to proactively deploy patrol vessels as a preventative safety measure.

It’s hoped their presence will also help protect and boost the wildlife that is attracted to the area, in particular pods of dolphins which draw large numbers of watchers from Roker Pier as well as people on the water on paddleboards and in small boats.

Anyone needing advice or assistance from patrol officers when the vessels are on duty should contact Port Control on 0191 553 2100 or direct via Marine VHF Channel 14.

Related topics:

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.