A fisherman who swam a mile to the Aldwick shore sparked an emergency.
A lifeboat and the coastguard helicopter were called into action after the alarm was raised.
The emergency services were alerted by a 999 call about 11.30am last Saturday which reported a boat washed up on the shore at Aldwick with no-one aboard and the outboard engine still running.
The RNLI’s Blue Peter 1 lifeboat was launched from Littlehampton. The coastguard helicopter was also called to search for a possible casualty.
Crew members Ivan Greer, Andy Hicks and Keith Booth arrived at the scene ten minutes later to find the fisherman reunited with his vessel but soaked through and very cold.
The lifeboat crew stayed with him until the coastguard arrived with warm and dry clothes.
A local man, the fisherman told them he had been collecting pots but had fallen into the sea when he leaned over to grab a dan buoy. With the engine running, his only option had been to swim the mile to shore.
Lifeboat operations manager Nick White commented: “The gentleman was a very lucky man. Sea and weather conditions were not too bad today but in different circumstances the outcome could have been very different.”