A LARGE search party is out looking for a kayaker who is still missing.

HM Coastguard appealed for help earlier today after an empty kayak and paddle were found ashore near Hove Lagoon this morning.

Sussex Police and RNLI Lifeboats have been assisting with the search, and a Coastguard helicopter was out flying across the coastline this afternoon.

The Argus:

A spokesman for HM Coastguard said: "At 10.10am today, HM Coastguard received a report of a person seen going into the water from a kayak/canoe off Hove Lagoon near Brighton.

The Argus:

"Coastguard Rescue Teams from Newhaven and Shoreham joined the search as well as the Brighton RNLI lifeboat and a Coastguard Rescue helicopter.

"A kayak and paddle were found ashore in the area.

The Argus:

"The search is ongoing but if you have any information about this or can confirm if this person has made it safely to shore please contact the Coastguard as soon as possible on 02392552100."

HM Coastguard said they have confirmed the identity of the kayaker this afternoon and the search is still ongoing.

The Argus:

On Friday the Coastguard dealt with more than 329 incidents across the UK, which is the highest number of callouts in one day for more than four years.

There were 232 callouts for Coastguard rescue teams and 129 for Lifeboats, including both RNLI and independents. 

Aircraft were sent out 22 times and hovercraft three times across the country.

Julie-Anne Wood, Duty Operations Director for HM Coastguard said: "Friday was a beautiful day weather wise in much of the UK.

"It was less beautiful a day for those who got themselves into trouble and had to be rescued. Some people will remember July 31 for all the wrong reasons.

The Argus:

"We completely understand that people want to enjoy the coast. We also know that even the most experienced swimmer, paddle boarder and walker can be caught out by currents and tides respectively.

"We’re heading into some more good weather and we would really ask you to check and double check the tide times – put a timer warning on a smartphone to remind you - be aware of things like rip currents, and make sure you have a means of contacting us if things do go wrong.

The Argus:

"As the figures show, we’ll always respond when someone calls 999 and asks for the Coastguard, we’ll always answer distress on VHF and we’ll always do everything we can to rescue those in need.

"All we ask in return is that you take extra care at the coast – it can be unmerciful to the unwary and even to those who know it well."