£11,700 has been raised in a GoFundMe fundraiser for a man who’s houseboat sank last week. 

Dart Harbour and Navigation Authority were called to Paul Chesswas’s 70ft vessel on the morning of October 25. It had sunk overnight. Paul was on board at the time. Paul lived on the vessel, and when it sunk he lost all of his belongings. 

Dart Harbour said: “We’ve had a very busy week beginning the salvage process for the Maureen.  

After rescuing and taking care of the owner, we have rigged a boom around the vessel to contain any pollution, and have been working to remove all of the loose wreckage and potential pollutants from the deck and cabin.  

“As you can imagine this has been a very challenging task for our team - working on a 30 degree deck for just a few hours each tide, but we have removed four skips full so far, and have fortunately been able to return some of the owner’s possessions to him as well.  

“We have also carried out a dive survey, and have started planning work for the next stages of the salvage operation.

“All of this has been done during the extremely large tides and horrendous weather we’ve had this week, and under the watchful eyes of the eight seals who live near the Maureen.  As always the Dart Harbour team have done an amazing job protecting the river.”

Paul’s daughter Natalie set up a GoFundMe Page to help him after this devastating loss. 

She said: “Everything he owns has gone, he was left with only the clothes he survived in. This is extremely hard for me to be asking for help and support as I know dad wouldn’t except anything from anyone so this is why I’m reaching for help to try and get him some bare essentials to get him back on his feet again.

“We all know he will never live on hard ground so trying to find something on the river is now my mission.

“As you can imagine we as a family (are) devastated and just want dad to be as happy as he can be.

“He’s had a hard few years and for this now to happen is going to affect him so much. From the bottom of my heart anything will help him at this moment in time.

“We are forever thankful for all of our loving friends and family. I just want my dad back on the river and happy again.”

The response from the local community has been overwhelming, with £11,700 of the £12,000 target already being reached. 

To donate to Paul’s cause, visit: https://gofund.me/6168684e