Batman, Superman, Darth Vader and even Penelope Pitstop and the Anthill Mob were among those taking the plunge at Fish Sands today.
The Hartlepool carnival raft race drew hundreds of spectators, who lined the harbour wall.
Natalie Howe, from the carnival committee, was delighted with the support from both crews and spectators.
“Considering it was raining so heavily this morning, we’ve got a really good turn-out,” she said.
“It has been great. We love it - everybody joins in together and it is always a really good day.
“I want to say a big ‘thank you’ to the RNLI and Coastguard, the Pot House pub and Mary Rowntree’s restaurant and to Paul Hewitson, who puts the marker buoys out for us - if we didn’t have the help of all these people, we couldn’t do it.”
First place went to the SS (SH)ANNE, a sturdy raft crewed by a bunch of mates from the Headland.
“This is the third year we’ve taken part,” said Kevin Bennett.
“We came third last year and fourth the year before.
“It’s just a reason for us all to get together and have a bit of fun - it’s good to be part of a local tradition and the raft race is legendary on the Headland.
“We’re happy to win because we built the raft from scratch.
“We took it out for a test and it was a bit unstable, so this is Mark Two.”
Recreating Wacky Races’ in aid of the Headland defibrillator fund as Penelope Pitstop and the Anthill Mob was a team from The Fisherman’s Arms.
Landlady Lana Williams said the theme each year depended on how the raft took shape: “Last year it was Dad’s Army and land girls, this year it’s Penelope Pitstop, the Anthill Mob and gangsters’ molls,” she said.
Also on hand were Darth Vader and stormtroopers.
The group of friends and neighbours from the Headland takes part every year.
“It’s just a good laugh,” said David Johnson.
“Loads of people come down and it’s good craic.”
Pot House owner Colin Gooding is happy to support the day.
“It is a great family event,” he said.
“We’ve had a bit of inclement weather but people still turned out in their hundreds.”