Skipper praised by passengers after rescue drama off the coast of Great Yarmouth

PUBLISHED: 08:00 26 August 2016

Paul Dyble was the skipper aboard the angling boat Sea Quest which began sinking when out at sea.

Picture: James Bass

Paul Dyble was the skipper aboard the angling boat Sea Quest which began sinking when out at sea. Picture: James Bass

(C) Archant Norfolk 2016

Less than a week after a fishing boat almost sank, its skipper has spoken of his relief at once again being able to set sail.

Passenger’s gratitude

Paul Whitehead, a passenger aboard the vessel has spoken of his gratitude to Mr Dyble and the rescue team for bringing his family to safety.

Mr Whitehead, 49, was fishing with family and friends, including son Kieran, 24 and grandson Callum, 11, when Mr Dyble instructed the group to don their life jackets.

He said: “None of us panicked, which I think we may have done had the skipper told us frantically, which he didn’t.

“Immediately he was on his radio and a boat was soon on its way.”

Mr Whitehead, who is holidaying in Caster, also praised the work of the rescue team which guided the group to safety.

He said: “It’s not actually the first time I’ve had to be rescued, this time last year I was jet-skiing and my engine broke down, so I’m getting used to it now.

“But it is not until these things happen that you truly appreciate what a fantastic job these people do, so a credit to them and a credit to Paul.

“We didn’t catch any fish on the day, but it turned out to be quite an adventurous day anyway.”

Paul Dyble, 68, took Sea Quest out to sea once more this week, despite it coming within moments of sinking on Sunday.

“It’s great to be back afloat,” he said, upon setting sail after almost losing the vessel he has owned for more than 30 years.

“I really thought she was going down.”

The skipper was a nautical mile out to sea with six passengers, when he noticed his versatility boat, Sea Quest, was filling with water. However, he remained calm in the face of danger, drawing on his 54 years of boating experience to avoid disaster.

Praise from colleagues

Mr Dyble’s quick thinking and calmness have been praised by those who helped with the rescue.

Jolene Smith of the UK Coastguard said: “This was a serious incident, but thanks to a well-trained and quick-thinking skipper and the correct communications and lifesaving equipment, we were able to ensure that rescue resources were quickly at the scene.”

Paddy Lee, RNLI Coxswain for Great Yarmouth and Gorleston RNLI Lifeboat, added: ”All persons on board were wearing lifejackets and the owner of the craft made the prompt and correct decision to inform the Coastguard of their situation allowing the lifeboats to attend to this situation.”

Mr Dyble had been escorting the passengers on a fishing trip, when the boat’s alarm system notified him of a leak in one of its valves. On checking the vessel’s engine box, he saw that it too had filled with water.

However, Mr Dyble remained composed, sending radio signals to the Coastguard and preparing his passengers with life jackets.

He said: “This was the first time I had experienced something like this on my own vessel, but I didn’t worry.

“My passengers all stayed very calm too - there was no panic. I simply told them that they needed to put their life jackets on and that they would have to get off when a lifeboat arrived.”

The six people then boarded the daughter boat of offshore standby vessel the Putford Puffin, leaving Mr Dyble fearing for his boat - but not his life.

“I honestly thought that was it for her,” said Mr Dyble. “I wasn’t worried about myself, I knew what to do and have an inflatable lifeboat if the worst came to the worst.

“I have seen boats roll before, and others in horrendous conditions, and I honestly thought I would lose her.”

However, the Gorleston RNLI team arrived with a pump, assisting Mr Dyble in securing the vessel. The lifeboat then took all seven people onboard and towed Sea Quest back to Yarmouth harbour.

Mr Dyble added: “They did an absolutely first class job getting everybody safely back to sure, and helping me out as well.

“Since Sunday, I’ve received lots of messages congratulating me on staying calm and giving me some very complimentary words - it has really meant a lot.”

After two days of repair work, a new valve and fresh skin fittings, Sea Quest is now back in ship shape.

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