Two men believed to be 'intoxicated' were given words of advice after they tried to use Google Maps to navigate the sea.
Hartlepool Coastguard Rescue Team, their colleagues from Seaham, Hartlepool RNLI and Cleveland Police were called out just before 8.30pm yesterday when reports of concern were made about "two disorientated" men on a small rib boat lost in the fog.
A spokesman said: "As we were departing the station, Hartlepool RNLI had spotted the craft with two intoxicated males on board and decided best thing to do is to transfer them onto the inshore lifeboat.
"They brought the males back to the lifeboat station towing their small craft to safety.
"Safety advice was given, one being that Google Maps is not a form of device to use to navigate the sea, especially on a foggy night.
"Due to the nature of the incident local harbour police were also on scene, along with Seaham Coastguard."
Hartlepool RNLI said the men were lost in thick fog while out fishing in a 2m-long dinghy.
A spokesman said its inshore and all weather lifeboats were launched at 8.30pm and commenced a search for the boat.
The inshore lifeboat crew found the vessel at 8.45pm, near to Longscar Rocks in 2m of water, where visibility in the thick fog was down to 5m.
The two persons on board who had apparently attempted to use a Google map on a mobile phone to navigate were placed aboard the inshore lifeboat and the casualty vessel was taken under tow back to Hartlepool RNLI lifeboat station where it was recovered and the two persons made their own way home unscathed after their ordeal.
Hartlepool RNLI lifeboats' operations manager Chris Hornsey said: "This was a tricky rescue with poor visibility in the thick fog.
"Fortunately the professionalism and dedication of our volunteer lifeboat crews quickly brought the incident to a safe conclusion."