Fears for occupants as Solent Coastguard issues alert after dinghy found on Worthing Beach

At around 10.30 this morning Solent Coastguard were alerted to a 7 foot open dinghy which seemingly had washed up 600 yards east of Worthing pier.

The Coastguard is now urgently seeking the owner of the dinghy in order to reassure the authorities that he or any occupants are safe and sound.

Local radio stations are being urged to broadcast an appeal to anyone who has any further information about this craft and its owner/occupants.

The dinghy is white in colour with black trim and with a seagull outboard engine. On board were three fishing rods, a deck chair strapped down inside and some personal property. A mouldy lifejacket was also on board. A bailer was also on board and the vessels had signs of a very recent occupation. There are two identifying marks at the rear of the vessel as if it had had been towed by a trailer. There is no trailer anywhere near the location of the vessel.

When it was reported to the Coastguard the vessel had been at the location for at least an hour.

Shoreham and Littlehampton lifeboats were requested to launch and a shoreline search is now being conducted from the harbour entrance to Worthing pier offshore, whilst Coastguard teams conduct the same search onshore.

The National Coastwatch lookout at Shoreham has also been asked to keep a visual watch for any people in the water.

The vessel has now been moved further up the beach and Coastguard stickers have been placed on the craft.

If any member of the public has any information or knowledge about the owner of the vessel they should contact Solent Coastguard on 02392 552100 as a matter of urgency.