Charter vessel Three Sisters was around five miles from Staithes with a group of tourists aboard when they spotted the mammal.
Record year for whale, dolphin and porpoise sightings off Yorkshire coastIt swam close to the boat and 'played' for several minutes, delighting onlookers.
The dry, warm summer has led to a record number of whale, dolphin, porpoise and even shark sightings in the North Sea due to the clear, settled conditions. A humpback whale was seen off Whitby for the first time in four years back in July.
Where to see whales in YorkshireThis is the first season the Three Sisters has operated wildlife-watching and fishing trips since owner and captain Martin Hopkinson, who spent 30 years as a lifeboat helmsman with Staithes RNLI, completed a refit of the boat during the winter. The former fisherman added a toilet and hot drinks facility, and created extra space for passengers.
"We've had a wonderful summer sharing our passion with everyone and this was the icing on the cake," said Martin's wife Julia.