Scarborough and Whitby’s all-weather lifeboats were called out in the middle of the night and scoured the coast for hours in search of an injured man alone at sea.
But the call turned out to be a hoax.
A man dialed 999 and said he was a lone yachtsman who had injured himself at sea.
Being uncertain of the exact position, the coastguard asked the lifeboats to conduct a parallel search of a huge area of sea between the two towns.
The Whitby lifeboat was tasked with a shoreline search around Robin Hood’s Bay while Scarborough’s Shannon lifeboat set off on the first of six radar searches of lanes 24 miles long and two miles wide.
The lifeboat was launched in the pouring rain at midnight.
The search was called off when the police and coastguard figured out that the emergency call was a hoax.
John Senior, lifeboat operations manager, said: “It appears that the individual concerned was worse for wear on the Newcastle to Amsterdam ferry when he called 999 and asked for an ambulance.
“After call triangulation indicating he was somewhere off Robin Hoods Bay, the coastguard were informed and a major air-and-sea search was set in motion”, said John, who assisted the shore crew."
After rehousing and washing the Shannon, the crew of six – plus the shore crew - weren’t back in their beds until 4am.
If you see anyone injured or in distress on the coast, dial 999 and ask for the coastguard.