EASTBOURNE’S all-weather and Hastings inshore lifeboats were launched shortly after 4am Friday morning in response to a Mayday distress call from a 16-year-old youth whose small angling boat was sinking off Cooden Beach.
When the lifeboats arrived on the scene there was no sign of the 14ft boat, but fortunately the young man was able to fire a flare to attract attention.
He was found clinging to his buoyant flare container and plucked from the water by the volunteer crew aboard the Hastings ILB and taken ashore to a waiting ambulance suffering from cold and shock.
Eastbourne lifeboat then conducted a search of the area to try and locate the stricken vessel but there was no sign and the search was later abandoned.
RNLI spokesperson Bob Jeffery said the young man was known to both lifeboat crews and had sensibly taken previous advice on equipping himself with some basic safety equipment.
Mark Sawyer, coxswain of Eastbourne lifeboat, said the advice undoubtedly saved his life.
He said, “Not only was he able to call for assistance from Dover Coastguard and fire a flare to attract attention but he was also able to cling onto the buoyant waterproof flare container.
“As a result he was only in the water for 15 minutes or so, any longer and the outcome could well have been far more serious.”