The Seahouses lifeboat was launched to rescue a charity rowing boat off the north Northumberland coast in the early hours of Saturday.
At 00.03, Humber Coastguard requested the launch of the all-weather lifeboat to help a 10-metre vessel with four people on board, about 12.5 miles off Seahouses, east of the Farne Islands.
They had called for help as they could no longer make any headway against the tide and were having trouble with their steering apparatus with weather conditions starting to deteriorate.
The boat was towed back to Seahouses and moored up for the night with the occupants taken to the Lifeboat Station and given warm drinks.
The vessel had come from Amble and a relative was called to collect the rowers, who thanked the Seahouses crew for the swift response.
Seahouses lifeboat operations manager, Ian Clayton, said: “These lads were obviously training for a much longer row to raise money for charity, but the strong tidal flow and steering problems defeated them.
“At least they had the good sense to call for assistance before the situation worsened.”