LIFEBOAT crew rescued four people when they towed their broken down boat back to shore.

The alarm was raised when one of the crew made a mobile telephone call asking for help just before 2pm on Saturday.

The 17 foot boat broke down between Marske and Saltburn and the Redcar RNLI lifeboat Leicester Challenge 2 quickly located the craft and towed it to safety at the Granville Terrace slipway on Redcar sea front.

Tony Jamieson, RNLI Sea Safety Officer for Redcar said: "Using a mobile phone at sea to raise the alarm when a person is in trouble is very risky. The mobile phone networks are designed to send and receive on land and there are a lot of blindspots where you can't get a signal off the coast.

"On this occasion the crew of the broken down boat were lucky and managed to get a signal. The basic equipment any boat should carry is lifejackets, distress flares and a marine VHF radio to raise the alarm.

"Using a VHF radio means the lifeboats and coastguard can use direction-finding equipment to pinpoint the position of the vessel in trouble.

"A marine VHF radio can cost less than one hundred pounds, but that's nothing compare to the cost of a life."

Free boat safety checks can be arranged by contacting the Redcar lifeboat station on 01642-484491.