Both the all-weather and inshore lifeboats were launched just before 10.30 am on Tuesday to report that a vessel had been spotted by the Shoreham National Coastwatch Institution (NCI) sinking ¾ miles south of Shoreham Harbour.
They discovered debris in the water and one of the crew on the all-weather lifeboat spotted a man in the water with no lifejacket trying to stay afloat. He was recovered from the water and confirmed he was the only person on the 33ft fishing vessel before it sank.
The casualty was transferred to the inshore lifeboat and quickly taken back to the lifeboat station to be further assessed and warmed up. The all-weather lifeboat remained in the area to investigate and recover all the debris from the water.
The man said: “I can’t thank the lifeboat crew enough. They saved my life.”
It was the first service for Shoreham’s newly qualified lifeboat coxswain-mechanic Simon Williams and was a life saved.
He said: “The fisherman didn’t even have to time to make a Mayday call because his boat sank so quickly. He was extremely lucky it was seen by the NCI who alerted the coastguard and we found him in the water. He had already been there about 20 minutes and didn’t have a life jacket.
“We are just glad we were able to respond and it was a positive outcome.”