A PAIR of playful dolphins thrilled a lifeboat crew when they swam through the water alongside their boat.

The crew from the Shoreham RNLI were on a training trip off the Sussex coast when they spotted fins in the water on Thursday evening.

But, rather than swim away, the sometimes elusive creatures came in for a closer look.

The dolphins followed the boat, appearing to dance and twirl under the water, making for a spectacular sighting.

A stunning photo taken by a member of the lifeboat crew captured the moment one of the dolphin’s leapt from the water as the sun set in the distance.

It follows two separate sightings of bottlenose dolphins, which were recorded on Easter Sunday.

The sightings were reported to the Sussex Dolphin Project, an organisation which aims to “inspire and engage the local community to learn about the incredible marine wildlife off the Sussex coast”.

Sussex Dolphin Project keeps a record of the number of dolphins spotted off the Sussex coast as part of its research into the county’s marine mammal sightings.

This summer, the project is offering boat trips to people in Brighton to provide them with the opportunity to learn about, and hopefully see, some of the amazing marine wildlife that lives on the Sussex coast.

The Argus: Credit: Shoreham RNLICredit: Shoreham RNLI

Thea Taylor, Sussex Dolphin Project lead said: “We’re delighted to announce the dates for Sussex Dolphin Project’s 2021 sunset wildlife cruises, which will run twice a month from May through to September, departing from Brighton Marina.

“Although dolphin sightings are rare this close to shore, you will learn all about our Sussex dolphins, porpoises, seals as well as the other amazing marine life including seabirds, seahorses and shark species. We look forward to welcoming you aboard.”

The cruises also offer guests a “unique view” of Brighton’s seafront as the sun sets from behind the West Pier and the i360.

All proceeds from ticket sales go directly to Sussex Dolphin Project.