A meteorological mast used to survey the site of a proposed wind farm has caused people to dial 999 believing it is a ship in distress.
The 110m (360ft) mast has been installed by energy company E.ON, which hopes to construct up to 195 turbines off the Brighton coast.
Its red and white flashing lights have been mistaken for S.O.S. signals.
Karen Bosman, who is a watch officer at Solent Coastguard, said: “We’ve had a number of 999 calls.”
The mast was installed in April to measure wind speed, wave height and sea currents.
“Obviously we don’t want to discourage people from calling in,” said Ms Bosman.
“This mast is 110m high so it’s quite visible, so we’re getting an awful lot of calls about this vessel in distress.
“Thank goodness we know exactly where it is and the sequence of the flashing lights, so it would be a simple task to determine from the informant as to whether it’s the windfarm or not.”
According to E.ON, the Rampion offshore wind farm could create enough electricity to power up to 450,000 homes.