The coastguard helicopter was called to assist both Hastings lifeboats in a search for a dinghy with four people on board off Bexhill.
The RNLI Hastings Lifeboat Station said crews were requested to launch at 9.58pm on Friday (July 26).
Crews were responding to reports of four people potentially in difficulty on board a dinghy off Bexhill.
The inshore lifeboat and its volunteer crew were quickly on scene and conducted an inshore search.
The all-weather lifeboat was on scene shortly after and started an offshore search.
Shore searches were conducted by Hastings Coastguard Rescue team and HM Coastguard Bexhill.
The RNLI said: “With nothing found initially the coastguard helicopter was also tasked to assist with the weather becoming poor and heavy squalls coming through.
“After two hours of searching the area thoroughly, with nothing found, both boats were stood down, arriving back at 1am.”
The Hastings coastguard rescue team said they were called to reports of four youths in difficulty.
A spokesman added: “A comprehensive search of the area using both land, sea and air assets found nothing untoward and we were then stood down and returned to station.”