The Steamboat Association
of Great Britain

to foster and encourage steam boating and the building, development, preservation and restoration of steam boats and steam machinery

to stimulate public interest
in steam boats
and steam boating

to promote high standards
of workmanship,
safety and seamanship


Topical notes about the SBA and the world of steamboats

  • 13 May 2013 17:42 | Deleted user
    The historic steam tug Kerne celebrates her centenary in 2013 and is to undertake a series of sailings to mark this achievement. 

    Completed at Montrose, Scotland in 1913 as the Viking the Kerne was acquired by the Admiralty and deployed in Chatham Dockyard after being renamed the Terrier, serving the Navy through both World Wars.  On her release by the Admiralty in 1948 she was bought by J.P. Knight Ltd. of London, renamed Kerne and sold to the Straits Steamship Company Limited ( a subsidiary of the Liverpool  Lighterage Co. Ltd ) to operate on the River Mersey and in Liverpool Docks where she worked until April 1971 when she was superseded by diesel power.  The Kerne was bought by a group of enthusiasts in September1971 who have maintained her in operating condition for 42 years, dedicating much time and effort into preserving and operating this now unique coal fired steam ship.  The Kerne can be seen in steam, travelling along the waterways of the North West of England and open to the public in the spring and summer months.

    The following Centenary Sailing Programme is planned for 2013 :-

    Centenary celebration event

    To be held at the Leigh Arms, Acton Bridge, on the Weaver Navigation in Cheshire on Saturday 18th May 2013 and Sunday 19th May 2013.   The Kerne will be on public display along with a display of George Coles, Clayton and Shuttleworth Steam Traction Engine and Alan Porters, Burrell Steam Roller in a triple centenary celebration.  The Kerne will be moored on the quay of the Weaver Navigation adjacent to the Leigh Arms.  This event has been organised jointly by the Kerne Preservation Society and the management of the Leigh Arms who will have available their excellent food and Celebration Steam Beer, making for a party atmosphere.

    Battle of the Atlantic 

    This commemorative event is to be staged from the 24th to the 27th May in Canning Dock Liverpool, in the vicinity of the Mersey Maritime Museum.  It is a tribute to the Tug Boat crews who undertook the perils of the Atlantic in World War 2 to recover the damaged and broken convoy ships, often with only the basic navigation aids available to them and with little protection against U Boat attack.  The event is staged by Liverpool City Council.   Kerne has been invited to participate in the River Mersey parade of participating naval vessels, departing from the port on Tuesday May 28th at the conclusion of the celebrations.

    Mersey River Festival

    To be held from the 7th to the 9th of June, the river festival is to include a variety of narrow boats, sailing and power vessels from the 19th and 20th Century, with both static displays and sailings in the River Mersey.  The event will be centred on the Albert Docks with the Kerne open to visitors in Canning Dock.

    Passage to Manchester

    During the week commencing the 11th August it is planned to sail the Kerne along the River Mersey and the Manchester Ship Canal to Salford Quays and moor on the public quay adjacent to the Lowry Centre and Media City. Visitors are welcome on board over the weekend of the 17th and 18th August.  Details of sailing and opening times will be published of the Kerne web site in due course.

    Birkenhead Transport Festival

    The festival is to be held on the 14th and 15th of September.   Details of the content and programme will be published by the organisers and available on the Kerne web site in due course.
    The Kerne website will provide further details of each event in due course.

  • 07 Apr 2013 10:32 | Deleted user
    Lots of useful information on launch sites and slipways in the UK or Europe can be found on the Boatlaunch website.

    Information on the slipways on the River Thames is also available on the Electric Boat Association's website.
  • 15 Mar 2013 16:48 | Deleted user

    IWA's 2013 National Festival is to be held at Cassiobury Park on the Grand Union Canal in Watford over the weekend of 19th to 21st July. 

    IWA intends that this will form part of an IWA Summer Festival of London Waterways.

    For more information visit the IWA website.

  • 15 Mar 2013 16:40 | Deleted user

    The Chesterfield Canal Festival will be held at Staveley Town Basin on 29th and 30th June.

    Lots of attractions have been lined up. There will be Music and Dance all day both in the huge Entertainment Marquee and outside. The Raptor Foundation will be doing flying displays and there will be a Fun Dog Show. Children can have a trip on a miniature train plus lots of other rides. You can expect dozens of stalls of every type, food and drink and a Real Ale bar. There will be a major concert featuring the Swing Commanders on the Saturday night.

    The Festival is combining with Open Days at Barrow Hill Roundhouse where you can have a ride behind a steam train and see the only surviving working turntable in the country. The two sites are only a mile apart and will be linked by a free vintage bus service.

    However, more boats are needed at the Festival. There will be lots of canoes and the Wheelyboat Trust. The problem is that the basin is on the isolated Derbyshire stretch of the Chesterfield Canal. There is a superb slipway, so it is easy for trailboats. A few have booked, but there will be space for lots more.

    The Chesterfield Canal Trust will have all three of its tripboats in operation. Two of these boats will be brought by truck from the Nottinghamshire end of the canal and lowered in by crane. Enterprising narrowboat owners are welcome to use this crane to put their own boat on the canal and cruise a waterway which would otherwise be inaccessible. Don’t worry, the crane will be back to get them out again!

    For further information, ring 01246 477569 or email .

  • 11 Mar 2013 16:55 | Anonymous member

    We heard at the AGM that one of the grand old men of modern steamboating, Cyril Taylor died on February 14th, having just passed his 90th birthday on February 3rd. We were sorry that the usual bush telegraph did not bring us word earlier, and we understand Cyril's family-only funeral took place just two days before our AGM.


    From the SBA's perspective, Cyril was a remarkable designer of engines for small steamboats and his straightforward single, twin and compound creations powered SBA craft of all shapes and sizes. He provided drawings and furnished castings through a local company, his engines proving to be robust as well as looking good.


    We shall miss Cyril and our warm sympathies have been extended to his widow.

  • 11 Mar 2013 12:27 | Deleted user

    A busy AGM in the superb surroundings at Gaydon drew some 110 members. So suitable and generally accessible were the premises that feedback messages indicate we should book there for next year. The facilities were great, as was the food and the company, of course... well that was pretty OK too!

    The Auction sold some £2250 worth of bits and pieces, and even as bits of metal are being smuggled covertly into homes past watchful partners, ideas are coming out of the woodwork as to how things might be developed for next year - even the offer of a pre-AGM auction catalogue which would enable more distant members to bid and to ensure that we can all see what's on offer.

    Well done to all who played any part in this memorable day: to our speakers, SBA President, Sir Neil Cossons and our afternoon speaker, Tim Bryan. We'll see you all next year.

    Mark Rudall (Chairman)


  • 08 Mar 2013 15:03 | Deleted user

    On the morning of Saturday 15th June the Falmouth Sea Shanty Festival will be enhanced by the spectacle of a Parade of Classic boats off Falmouth Events Square and Customs House Quay.

    Owners and crews of Yachts, Power and Steam boats will be able to display their lovingly maintained and presented craft before invited dignitaries who will select the best-presented boats and crews. Dignitaries and Crews are encouraged to dress in appropriate period costume to augment the occasion.

    As well as including sailing and pulling craft the parade is open to any mechanically-powered vessel built pre-1965 or after 1965 to a traditional design, with inboard propulsion.

    To find out more visit the event's website.

  • 01 Mar 2013 18:02 | Deleted user

    The spring edition of  "The Funnel" magazine has been landing on the door mats of SBA members this week.

    This edition includes a wide variety of articles including reports of cruises and steamboat rallies that took place in 2012, technical articles adding auxiliary sails to a steamboat, a members experiments with a monotube boiler and many more.

    Non-members can get a taste of what the magazine is like with a free download of the article on Steam Yacht Amazon.  If you like what you read why not join the SBA?
  • 20 Feb 2013 18:42 | Deleted user

    The Medway Queen was built by Ailsa Shipbuilding Company for the New Medway Steam Packet company, for the service between the Medway Towns and Southend-on-Sea. She spent the whole of her working life in this area except for occasional excursions and, of course, for her wartime service.
    She saw active wartime service between 1939 and 1945 with her finest moment in 1940 when the ship and her crew made seven crossings to the beaches of Dunkirk rescuing 7000 British and French troops. The bravery of her gallant crew lead to the title “Heroine of Dunkirk" being bestowed.

    The Medway Queen Preservation Society is based in the Medway area of Kent, but draws support from all around the world. Its a volunteer led society, but employs professionals for the rebuild of the ship. The society's aim is to restore the ship, bring her back to working condition.

    With the support of the EU Regional Development Fund, and the Heritage Lottery Fund, MQPS has set up an apprentice training workshop where the restoration will be completed. The rebuild of the ship's hull is being done in David Abels dry dock, right next to the SS Great Britain.

    Over the next few months the Medway Queen Preservation Society will be attending a number of events with a "Medway Queen" stall. If you are at any of these events you are invited to stop by for a chat to get the latest news and so on. 

    The larger events that will be covered are:
    • Brighton Model World - February 22-24th
    • London Festival of Model Railways, Alexandra Palace - March 23-24th
    • Classic Boat Museum, East Cowes, Isle of Wight - April 21/22nd
    • Southampton Maritime Festival - May 5-6th
    There is more information on the Medway Queen and the work of the preservation society on their website.
  • 18 Feb 2013 21:51 | Deleted user
    The latest edition of the Inland Waterways Association (IWA) South East Region Newsletter, Cargoes - Spring 2013 is now available. 

    It includes articles on the Crossness Pumping Station engines, the Medway Queen and numerous articles of news from various parts of the canal network. 

    This edition and back issues can be downloaded from the IWA website here.

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