Crew from Newbiggin RNLI inshore lifeboat were called out after a fishing boat with three crewmen got into difficulties nine miles north of Tynemouth.
The 11-metre Tina had been trawling for prawns when another vessel reportedly towed her nets across her, affecting her propeller and dragging her backwards fast enough to start shipping water.
Tynemouth RNLI all weather lifeboat was also called out with fears the vessel might sink.
The Tynemouth crew were able to attach a tow rope and pulled the Tina forward, which freed the trawl wire, allowing her to get under way.
Newbiggin lifeboat stood by during the operation and once the Tina was free, crew remained on scene until the fishermen had collected their nets.