A FAMILY from Broughton have paid tribute to a sailor whose own dramatic subsea rescue sparked his lifelong commitment to safety at sea.

Roger Chapman CBE died peacefully at his Furness home on Friday aged 74 with his family by his side after 'a long illness valiantly fought'.

Mr Chapman made global headlines in 1973 when his submersible Pisces III sank 480 metres to the bottom of the Atlantic.

A multi-national rescue effort was launched to save him and his colleague Roger Mallinson and after spending 76 hours on the seabed with with fewer than 20 minutes of air remaining they were finally plucked from the submersible.

In the years that followed, Mr Chapman transformed the humble manned submersible from an unconventional tool for exploration into the current method for submarine rescue.

His company RUMIC - founded in 1984, was sold to James Fisher in 2002.

Mr Chapman’s charity - the RUMIC Foundation, supports children in the Furness area by supporting good causes.

His wife June paid tribute to a 'good husband and devoted father'.

He was described as a 'much-loved husband, devoted father to Marcus and Sam, father-in-law to Melly and Jenny, and Papa to Afra and Sunny'.

"He was excellent with the boys and really enjoyed the company of young people which is why we set up the RUMIC Foundation," Mrs Chapman said.

"Our work with the foundation will continue.

"He achieved a huge amount in his life; the incident with the Pisces changed his world."

Mr Chapman's funeral will take place at Broughton Church on Friday February 7 at 2pm.

The family has asked for no flowers but any donations made during the service will be split between the Royal National Lifeboat Instituteand the RUMIC Foundation Trust.