Historic Passenger Vessels after the pandemic

Event Date:
Start at 7:00 PM
March 8, 2021

As with many leisure and heritage sectors of the economy, 2020 proved extremely challenging to river and coastal passenger vessels including many historic craft some of which now face a very uncertain future. Continued operation and income from operation is essential to the maintenance and sustainability of most historic craft and this includes the paddle steamers Waverley and KIngswear Castle, Shieldhall and the fleets of Thames sailing barges, historic River Thames passenger vessels and many coastal and riverine ferries and public pleasure craft. However as 2020 has shown the impact of the virus restrictions and the measures to maintain Covid safe working have varied hugely around the country. In London the absence of international visitors has kept whole fleets mothballed while in some coastal holiday locations many operations have continued with extra vessels brought in to meet demand. Many smaller charter vessels have not been able to operate while others have had to offer shorter trips, day sails and look to other (non sailing) activities to maintain their income. John’s talk will look at emerging pointers from this experience and at how the sector might adapt to cope with the challenges of 2021.

John Megoran, has had a lifelong experience and interest in coastal passenger craft. In 1985 he returned the paddle steamer “Kingswear Castle” to service and ran the business for over 30 years as well as sailing as one of KC’s captains. He is Chairman of the Kingswear Castle Trust, a Director and Trusttee of Maritime Heritage Trust, a member of National Historic Ships’ Council of Experts and of the MCA Domestic Passenger Ship Safety Group.

The Maritime Heritage Trust MHT is the national membership body for the maritime preservation sector and is the direct descendant of The Maritime Trust created in 1969 under the patronage of Prince Philip. The UK has great working examples of historic ships and boats – traditional sail, steamers, classic boats of all sizes and fine maritime buildings. Individual owners and small voluntary groups keep most of these vessels working and The Maritime Heritage Trust supports them. The Trust campaigns nationwide for a better deal for historic ships, and to keep them working, gives advice and support to individual preservation projects and represents the UK in the European Maritime Heritage organisation, to help keep historic ships sailing internationally. Our current projects include the Heritage Harbours campaign (joint with National Historic Ships).