A BOAT had to be rescued on its maiden voyage after the engine failed close to rocks.

A lifeboat spotted the vessel drifting towards the rocks off the Redcar coast in poor visibility shortly before 2pm yesterday.

Two of the five people on board had jumped into the sea in an attempt to push the boat clear of the rocks, approximately half a mile from the Redcar RNLI lifeboat station.

When the lifeboats arrived they found that a passing fishing boat had managed to put a line onto the 16ft craft to keep it in clear water.

Dave Cocks, of Redcar RNLI, said: "The initial call was that someone had been lost overboard from the boat but when the lifeboats arrived our crews were told that two young men had jumped over the side to try and keep the boat away from the rocks.

"Visibility has been very poor over the last 24 hours, and it was only because of the vigilance of the lookout at Coastwatch that the alarm was raised.

"The crew of the fishing boat also did a good job by reacting quickly and attaching a line to the broken down craft before it drifted onto the rocks."

Only one of the people on board was wearing a lifejacket. The owner of the boat, a 23 year-old man, from Marske, near Redcar, had bought the boat just 24 hours earlier.

The boat was not equipped with flares or a VHF radio.

Tony Jamieson, sea safety officer for Redcar RNLI, said: "Any boat going to sea should carry basic life saving equipment."