The man was amongst rocks in the water.
Volunteers at RNLI Sunderland launched an operation to rescue a man in the water at Roker beach yesterday.
An emergency call made just after midday alerted the coastguard, and an RNLI D Class lifeboat was launched.
As the casualty was in the water and among rocks, an RNLI crewman was put in the water with a rope line to bring the man back to the boat.
The man was treated for cold on the lifeboat and taken to an ambulance on return to the shore.
Sam Clow, volunteer helmsman, said: “It is always a worry when we hear that somebody is in the water, however we were able to get there in time and bring him back to the care of our colleagues in the ambulance service in a very good time.
“Everyone at the station wishes the casualty the best in recovering from the ordeal.”