TRIBUTES have been paid to a popular former Weymouth charter boat skipper who was‘adored by so many’ and known for his quick wit - after loved ones scattered his ashes in the sea off the Dorset coast.

A beloved husband, father and friend, Paul Whittall died at the age of 68 towards the end of 2021 in Thailand, having moved there in recent years.

Mr Whittall was a well-known and respected skipper for around 40 years and in later life produced some of his tales from the sea in a book which raised funds for the RNLI in Weymouth as well as working as a freelance journalist, producing fishing articles for Dorset Echo.

Dorset Echo: The boats depart Weymouth Harbour to scatter Paul Whittall's ashes. picture: Sam Machin

Family and friends have shared their memories of Mr Whittall, including his son Tom.

He said: “I just express my respect for what dad has done for Weymouth as a whole, the fishing and angling side by writing reports in the Echo and Angling Times - stories which put Weymouth on the map as a popular fishing and angling destination and by pushing the boundaries.

“The charter boats all used to be wooden warriors and now Weymouth has the most impressive fleet of charter boats that are state of the art, on the south coast.

“That’s all because dad pushed it on.”

Weymouth skipper Lyle Stantiford of Supanova Charter, said: “Paul will be remembered fondly by so many and I can’t think of anyone who has influenced such a diverse body of people in his days with us.

“He will forever be remembered in our industry of charter fishing, the trend setter of evolution in so many aspects of our industry.

“He was adored by so many that graced the decks of the various Offshore Rebels over the years.

“He was a true champion of unity amongst our fleet of boats in Weymouth and his time and investment in so many young skippers and anglers is something he should have been immensely proud of.

“The most quick witted person I’ve ever had the pleasure of spending time with, his many, many stories would just engage you from start to finish.

“I will miss Paul dearly as will so many who knew and loved him. Rest easy mate.”

Dorset Echo: Paul Whittall's ashes were scattered at sea on Tuesday, pictures: Tom Whittall

A spokesperson from Weymouth RNLI says the Weymouth Lifeboat crew were sorry to hear of the death of Paul Whittall, a 'prominent figure in the local community'.

Station Coxswain Andy Sargent remembers him fondly having known him since the mid-1970s, he said: "Paul was a great support to the station, doing whatever he could to help during his days as a charter boat skipper for some 40 years.

"Paul wrote two books, Army Brat to Seadogs - an autobiography about his journey from childhood to charter boats, and Sea-Dog Tall Tales - a collection of stories from the seas, and generously donated the proceeds to the station.

Dorset Echo: Paul Whittall's ashes were scattered at sea on Wednesday, picture: Tom Whittall

"As a charity, the RNLI depend on the goodwill of people like Paul and are grateful for all his help over the years."

The Weymouth Harbour Master added: “The Weymouth Harbour Team were saddened to learn of Mr Whittall’s passing and our thoughts are with his family at this time.”

On Tuesday, three boats set off from Weymouth Harbour at 10am to scatter Mr Whittall’s ashes at sea, with a memorial also planned in February - details of which are to be confirmed.