The Team

North Sea Pelagics is a community website.

It exists solely to highlight that truly ground breaking offshore trips are being run off the Northumberland coast.

People join trips as guests and often leave as friends. 

eg Comments from guests:

"Dear Ben and Alan.
Just to say a huge thank you for a great experience yesterday. We 

enjoyed every minute of the pelagic trip and have been busy looking at 

our photos and video footage - what fantastic memories - as Alan said - 

it is something we'll always remember.

You were a great team - so skilful, knowledgeable and enthusiastic. You

created a really friendly atmosphere and a great sense of camaraderie

amongst us all. It was a pleasure spending the day with everyone.

We've checked out the 2014 dates and will definitely be booking a

return visit. Keep up the good work!

Thank you again.

Best wishes

Trish and Roy Lowson"   
"We'll certainly be booking for another trip as soon as we can. It was fantastic. 
Thanks again

Dr Ben Burville, a local GP in Amble, has a passion for marine life and a background, prior to medicine, in marine biology.

He studied Oceanography and Biology at Southampton University with a dissertation on echolocation in Bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus).

Ben is also a Visiting Researcher with Newcastle University's School of Marine Science & Technology.

Ben has maintained a keen interest in this field and has over the last 16 years utilised unique filming techniques to record underwater video footage never seen before.

He has a formal wildlife licence from the MMO, to film white beaked dolphin underwater.

This footage is being used to help promote awareness of Marine Conservation and as part of a study attempting to identify individual dolphins and their pod structure. 

Over the last 17 years he has developed considerable experience filming grey seals, working with the BBC on various programs including Britains Great Wildlife Revival,Coast, Autumnwatch, Springwatch, The One Show, Countryfile, Country Tracks, Inside Out and CBBC Live N'Deadly. 

Ben has also filmed both gannets and underwater auks for the BBC (Coast and The One Show).

He recently worked with ITV on Tales from Northumberland with Robson Green & Nature Nuts with Julian Clary.

He has observed and filmed dolphins, including Orca, in waters from Arctic Norway to the Red Sea. Ben provides detailed information on cetaceans seen during the trips along with information on seals.

North Sea Pelagics highlight trips run by William Shiel the son of Billy Shiel MBE who established the famous "Billy Shiel's" Glad Tidings boats" in Seahouses, Northumberland.

William and his extended family have considerable experience of the North Sea coastal waters and have recorded sightings of dolphins and whales for many years.

A very experienced skipper and boat operator, William purchased the RHIB "Ocean Explorer" new in 2010 with a view to providing unique access to offshore sites in record times. 

William has a very good working knowledge of bird life off the Northumberland coast.

Skipper of the "Ocean Explorer"Alan Leatham has over 30 years experience at sea and is a keen naturalist.His gentle, friendly manner is always appreciated by clients. He has a great sense of humour and can often be seen on trips bossing Ben about and making him do all the work! Well nearly all the work!

He is an outstanding skipper and has an uncanny knack of spotting cetaceans - even spotting a minke whale once purely from a small patch of disturbed water as the boat passed by!

Together these make an unrivalled team!

Your contacts


Ben Burville

2020 COVID bookings please contact Ben - as boat operator is incredibly busy due to impact of Covid19

Tel: 07932 577 608



William Shiel

Boat operator 


Alan Leatham

Skipper & keen birder!



Matt Sharpe from Newcastle University with CPOD & SoundTrap - recording white beaked dolphin clicks and whistles

Simon Laing from Newcastle School of Marine Science working with us using hydrophone.

National Trust team on board

North Sea Pelagics



07932 577608


Other enquiries >

Ben Burville




Mobile: 07932 577608



Filming with Robson Green - Tales from Northumberland ITV
ITV Tales from Northumberland
BBC filming with John Craven
William Shiel talking to media
BBC Countryfile filming



ITV Tales from Northumberland 2014


BBC Radio Newcastle Dec 2013


BBC1 Countryfile 11th Aug 2013 with John Craven