Drone owners have been asked to let the emergency services know if they are flying their kit at night after flashing lights sparked a 999 call out.
Members of Sunderland Coastguard Rescue Team were called out just after 9pm last night after a call reported red flares over the South Pier of Sunderland.
The crew were joined by members of the RNLI Sunderland Lifeboat Station to assist in a search.
A spokesman for the Coastguard said: "On arrival it became apparent the flares were actually drones being flown by a local club from the old North Pier.
"The owners were asked to contact the Coastguard operations centre should the be flying in the area again.
"This was a false alarm with good intent."
The service has issued a reminder people should call 999 and ask for the Coastguard in case of all coastal emergencies.