Fellow fishermen tried calling the mobile phones of the three men whose boat, The Purbeck Isle, had gone missing.
Andy Alcock, secretary of the Weymouth and Portland Fisherman and Licensed Boatman Association, said: "The lads had tried to phone the vessel and got just cut-off lines. All three mobile phones just cut off."
He said: "As the evening panned out into darkness it got more and more serious. It then became an all-night vigil to try and find the vessel."
Prayers and a minute's silence was observed at chuches in Weymouth today for the crew of the fishing boat Purbeck Isle
Coastguards have called off a search for two missing fishermen after the wreck of the boat and its life raft were discovered on the sea bed
The Purbeck Isle from Weymouth got into difficulties last year and was rescued by the RNLI in January 2011.