Sunderland Coastguard and lifeboat crews were called when a small tender boat was spotted drifting out to sea.
At 11.05am the Sunderland Coastguard Rescue Team and Sunderland RNLI were called to a report of the vessel heading out of Sunderland Harbour.
A spokesman for the coastguard, said: "Once it was determined there was no evidence of any persons being on board, the tender was taken under tow to avoid any hazard to navigation in westerly near gale conditions and taken to the half tide basin at the South Dock entrance."
The owner should contact Sunderland Port Control on 0191 514 2752 to reclaim the boat.
The spokesman said: "Boat owners are reminded to ensure that tenders are securely moored to avoid them breaking adrift in windy conditions and to prevent similar calls on search and rescue assets."