Nfld. & Labrador

Lindsay Petten, 'a role model for us all,' mourned in Port de Grave and beyond

One of Newfoundland and Labrador's elite fishermen died Monday while scuba diving with his son near Bareneed.

Elite fisherman died Monday while scuba diving with his son near Bareneed

Port de Grave fisherman Lindsay Petten, pictured here the summer of 2018, died Monday while scuba diving in Conception Bay North. (Bruce Tilley/CBC)

One of Newfoundland and Labrador's elite fishermen, Lindsay Petten of Port de Grave, is being mourned this week after the 46-year-old died Monday afternoon while scuba diving with his son.

The two experienced divers were in the water just off Bareneed, harvesting wild scallops and mussels, when something went wrong. Petten lost consciousness and could not be revived.

Petten's death has sent shockwaves throughout the fishing community, especially in Port de Grave, which is home to one of the province's most successful fishing fleets.

Petten was the owner of the Nautical Legend, one of roughly 70 enterprises based in Port de Grave, and son of another fishing icon, Ches Petten.

Petten pilots the Nautical Legend in Conception Bay in 2018. (Terry Roberts/CBC)

The Petten name is synonymous with seafood harvesting in Conception Bay North, and Lindsay was highly regarded for both his competency on the ocean, and in the way he treated others.

"Lindsay was a role model for us all. He was a gentleman in every sense of the word," said fellow fishing enterprise owner Dwight Petten.

"(If there's) such thing as being perfect, I think in that kind of way, I think Lindsay was."

Port de Grave is famous for its holiday light show, with the vessels decorating their superstructures and lighting up the harbour. It's become a holiday destination for many over the Christmas season.

But Dwight Petten says the holiday has lost its lustre, and the community has lost someone respected far and wide.

"Everyone looked up to Lindsay. I don't know if he ever had a cross word with anyone in his life," said Dwight.

Lindsay lived with his wife, Colleen, in the Otterbury area of Clarke's Beach. They have three children.

Dwight Petten said he "lived life to the fullest," whether it was on or in the ocean, travelling abroad, spending time at his cottage, or running with his dogs.

"The family knew the master of the storm and the master of the seas, and that's the only thing that will get them through this now," said Dwight, referring to the family's spiritual strength.

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Terry Roberts is a journalist with CBC's bureau in St. John's.