Boat runs aground on infamous Black Middens

The boat grounded on the Black Middens.
The boat grounded on the Black Middens.

The infamous Black Midden rocks at Tynemouth claimed another victim this afternoon when a small boat ran aground.

A rigid-inflatable boat (RIB) with two people on board grounded on the rocks, just inside the harbour at Tynemouth.

Tynemouth RNLI inshore lifeboat launched and the Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade were tasked to help on shore.

Arriving on scene just a minute after launching, the lifeboat crew found the two occupants had got onto the rocks and were attempting to get the RIB higher up out of the water.

Sea conditions were rough with a rising tide, making it impossible for the lifeboat to get closer and eventually driving the RIB’s occupants back to the safety of the shore.

As the lifeboat crew stood by, members of the TVLB, wearing water rescue equipment, managed to get a line onto the RIB and drag it off the rocks and further round the point towards Tynemouth Haven where it was made fast until conditions improved enough to recover the vessel.

The Black Middens, which are covered at high water, have claimed many ships over the centuries.

In 1864, the rocks claimed five ships in three days with many deaths, even though the wrecks were only a few yards from the shore. In response, a meeting was held in North Shields Town Hall in December 1864 at which it was agreed that a body of men should be formed to assist the Coastguard in the event of such disasters. This led to the foundation of the Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade.