The RNLI's inshore lifeboat was launched on Saturday, responding to a report of up to ten people cut off by the tide.
The crew launched the lifeboat at 3.47pm and began a search to the west of Whitby, along with the coastguard who performed a search on foot.
Three people were located cut off by the tide under the Spa Pavilion.
They were quickly transferred into the inshore lifeboat and safely returned to the harbour and dropped off at Whitby Lifeboat station.
The volunteer crew then relaunched to search the east pier area but were stood down after no one was found to be in difficulty.
Crew member Ian Taylor said: "It was a pretty straight forward rescue in good conditions, there was some initial confusion over how many people were cut off and the exact location, but along with the coastguard crews we managed to quickly locate the three people who were in trouble and get them to safety.
"We would like to remind people to always check the tide times when you are by the sea, the tide can come in quickly and take you by surprise. The three young people we rescued had managed to climb onto rocks on this occasion but if the sea had been rougher the outcome could have been a lot different."