Humber Coastguard requested lifeboat assistance following reports that a 21ft pleasure fishing vessel, with two people on board, was stranded.
The lifeboats launched at 3.25am on Sunday.
The inshore lifeboat, Mildred Holcroft, made contact with the boat opposite the golf club at Alnmouth beach. A tow was made fast and the boat towed into deeper water, alongside the all-weather lifeboat Elizabeth and Leonard.
She was found to be making water and it was decided that the inshore lifeboat should tow the boat into the River Aln and beach her at a safe point.
Lifeboat coxswain David Bell said it was too risky to return the boat to its normal mooring in the river in case she sank and caused a risk to other vessels.
Both lifeboats returned to Amble Lifeboat Station at 5am.