Watch the action at Littlehampton Waterfront Festival 2019

Thousands of people visited Littlehampton Harbour for Littlehampton Waterfront Festival 2019 and Littlehampton RNLI Lifeboat Station open day. Picture: Derek Martin DM1984049a
Thousands of people visited Littlehampton Harbour for Littlehampton Waterfront Festival 2019 and Littlehampton RNLI Lifeboat Station open day. Picture: Derek Martin DM1984049a

Many have said Littlehampton Waterfront Festival 2019 was the best one yet, after thousands of people visited Littlehampton Harbour for the spectacular free event, with action throughout the day.

The harbour hosted a number of visiting vessels on Sunday, including the Sussex Inshore Fisheries Conservation Authority patrol vessel Watchful, the national Maritime Volunteer Service training vessel East Sussex 1, the Selsey RNLI all-weather lifeboat and the Shoreham RNLI all weather lifeboat.

More pictures: See scenes from Littlehampton Waterfront Festival and Littlehampton RNLI Lifeboat Station open day 2019

Read more: Littlehampton RNLI showcases four lifeboats at open day, enthralling Littlehampton Waterfront Festival crowds

Also open to visitors on the pontoon were the locally-built, gaff-rigged, timber pilot cutter Mary Winifred and Littlehampton Harbour Board multi-use vessel Erica.

For the first time, angling was a key part of the festival, with Mark Gillen from West Sussex Sea Angling Club co-ordinating a huge effort by several local and national groups.

Billy Johnson, Littlehampton harbour master, said: "This year's event was a tremendous success and I would like to thank all those who took part both on and off the water.

"As always, the weather is the biggest factor and, despite a wet start and blustery conditions, we were grateful that the sun shone for the rest of the day.

"The harbour and river are the jewel in the crown for Littlehampton and it was great for us to be able to showcase so many of the activities that take place within the harbour and locally at sea to so many people."

Demonstrations on the water included an aerobatic display by Dan Sterling-Foy and Matt Rajzowicz, the UK’s top stand up jet-skiers, who thrilled the crowd.

Littlehampton RNLI volunteers demonstrated casualty recoveries with their two inshore lifeboats, Renee Sherman and Ray of Hope, and Tim Dutton showed off one of his unique amphibious vehicles.

The highlight of the day for many was the exhilarating high-speed run through the harbour made by offshore power boat The Beaver Returns, helmed by Brian Pelham.

Harry Gregory, deputy harbour master, said: "All other vessels movements were stopped for a short time to ensure safety during this spectacle, which was quickly followed by two scuba divers from Arun Divers recovering some 'treasure' from the riverbed.

"The harbour was then re-opened in time for the visiting vessels to depart as a procession into now heavy conditions at sea.

"This year, the returning hovercraft and flyboard demonstrations could unfortunately not safely go ahead due to the windspeed but we look forward to hosting them again next year.

"Also along the waterfront were more than 20 stallholders promoting their organisations and selling products, plus performances by the Secret Shore Singers and the Littlehampton Sea Cadets, who all contributed to the maritime theme and in creating a great atmosphere throughout the day."

The anglers had several stalls, ran a crabbing competition and showed groups round onboard local charter fishing vessel Chinquita. The aim was to show how people of all ages can join in the sport in a safe and environmentally-responsible way.

The hope for next year's event is that conditions at sea will allow short trips for youngsters to try out angling at sea.

Mr Johnson added: "We are extremely grateful to all the individuals and organisations who gave up their time to participate this year.

"We are already thinking about next year’s event and, as soon as we have a date confirmed, we will be posting it on our Facebook page and website.”