Our Ships

Supporting the preservation and operation of paddle steamers Waverley and Kingswear Castle

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Our ships Waverley and Kingswear Castle met in the Medway Estuary on 11 October 1999

Waverley, taken from Kingswear Castle
Kingswear Castle, taken from Waverley

Our Ships

The Society helps keep our ships sailing. The only operational historic paddle steamers in Great Britain sailing; PS Waverley and PS Kingswear Castle. Both paddle steamers are listed in the National Historic Fleet as being of pre-eminent national significance.

Paddle Steamer Waverley

Paddle Steamer Waverley on the River Clyde.
Paddle Steamer Waverley on the River Clyde.

Waverley’s 2019 season was cancelled in May following the discovery of major problems with the ship’s 20-year old boilers. In December 2019 the Waverley Boiler Refit Appeal achieved its target of £2.3 million paving the way for this unique piece of Britain’s maritime heritage to sail again in 2020.

Flagship of our fleet, Paddle Steamer Waverley is the last sea-going paddle steamer in the world. Built on the Clyde in 1947 for the London and North Eastern Railway, she is named after Sir Walter Scott’s first novel and indeed carries a portrait of Edward Waverley on her paddle boxes. Waverley is powered by a triple-expansion marine steam engine. In 1974 she was gifted to the Society for the token sum of £1. She sails between April and October each year in the waters of Scotland, England and Wales.

Waverley is operated on behalf of the Society by Waverley Excursions Limited.

Paddle Steamer Kingswear Castle

Coal-fired Kingswear Castle on the Medway.
Coal-fired Kingswear Castle on the Medway.

Paddle Steamer Kingswear Castle, known affectionately as KC, is Britain’s last coal burning river paddle steamer. She was built by Philip & Son of Dartmouth in Devon in 1924 for the River Dart Steamboat Company Limited for service on the River Dart. The Society purchased her in 1967 and over a number of years restored her to her present day condition.

From 1985 until 2012 she operated on the rivers Medway and Thames, based at Chatham. In December 2012 Kingswear Castle returned to her home waters on the River Dart after and absence of 45 years.

Kingswear Castle sails from Dartmouth and Totnes. Her main sailings are 90 minute Dartmouth Harbour cruises but on selected days (subject to tidal conditions) she steams up the beautiful River Dart to Totnes and back.  She is owned on behalf of the Society by the Paddle Steamer Kingswear Castle Trust.  She is on long term charter to the Dartmouth Steam Railway and River Boat Company who operate her each summer.

Other Ships

The Society also supports other paddle steamer projects including PS Maid of the Loch and PS Medway Queen.

You can read about Waverley’s former consort MV Balmoral here.