Coastguard called to reports that a fisherman has been washed off the end of pier during rough seas.
The UK Coastguard search and rescue helicopter took part in the search as two lifeboats battled difficult sea conditions.
Humber Coastguard received reports that a fisherman has possibly washed off the end of Heugh Breakwater Pier in Headland, Hartlepool, at around 10.45pm last night.
Hartlepool Coastguard Rescue Team, Hartlepool RNLI and Seaham Coastguard carried out a search of the vicinity.
A spokesperson for Hartlepool Coastguard Rescue Team said: "Upon arrival first informant told us that one minute he could see a light on the end the next a wave came and the light was gone.
"A search plan was drawn up involving ourselves Seaham Coastguard and Hartlepool RNLI. We searched shoreline from the Heugh battery along to the pilot pier including searching either side of the Heugh breakwater.
"Hartlepool RNLI inshore and all weather lifeboat searched around the piers and the vicinity . Before being joined on scene by Rescue 912."
Following a thorough search of the area both lifeboats were stood down at 2.30am and returned to the Ferry Road lifeboat station where they were refuelled and made ready for service by 3.00am.