management of the lifeboat was at first undertaken by a local
committee and later by the Tees Bay Lifeboat Society, which
financed lifeboats on both sides of the river from tolls levied
on ships using the Tees. It was the heyday of the sailing vessel
and many hundreds were employed in carrying coal from north
east ports to London and the south. They were entirely at the
mercy of the weather and scores were driven ashore by the frequent
onshore gales, for which the North Sea is notorious.
August 13th, 1829, the coal laden brig Aurora, was wrecked on
the North Gare by a fierce north easterly storm. The Seaton
Carew lifeboat was launched, but the rough seas proved to be
too much for the crew, and after three hours toiling at the
oars they were obliged to return to shore in an exhausted condition.
In the meantime the Zetland had been brought from
Redcar and was launched with a crew of twenty-six, under the
command of Lt. Richard Elsworthy Pym of the coastguard.
Even with the extra men at the oars it was a while before the
Zetland managed to reach the Aurora and
bring the crew of eight and the captain and his wife to safety.
For his part in the rescue Lt. Pym was awarded the gold medal
of the RNLI.