The Heritage Marine Foundation is a charitable trust established to advance maritime heritage primarily through the Maintenance Operation and Conservation of Traditional Vessels and through public education.

Downs Road Boat Yard plays home to Heritage Marine Foundation.  The Yard is well established in the field of traditional boat repairs and restoration and is a nucleus of skilled boat builders, shipwrights, engineers and riggers along with their associated trades.

The foundation aims to:

Advance maritime heritage for the pubic benefit in particular, but not exclusively by:
- the preservation, restoration and operation of historically significant vessels and the contribution of traditional maritime skills
- the provision of training and work experience in maritime skills to those unable to sponsor themselves through a dedicated program as well as offering the training to the public at large
- advancing the education of the public and raising awareness of maritime heritage by maintaining and operating historic vessels, participating in public events, conducting research and offering education, information and advice.

Advance environmental protection for the public benefit by promoting sustainability and environmental responsibility in particular by not exclusively by:
- researching and promoting traditional methods of fishing under sail in order to educate, encourage and promote the concept of sustainable fishing
- researching and developing carriage of cargo under sail in order to educe, encourage and promote the concept of sustainable waterborne freight
- carrying out research and educating the public into the sources of pollution at sea and promoting clean seas and responsibility for local marine environments.



Currently the Foundation's apprentices are working alongside partner organisations.  This has seen them working onboard the rigging maintenance contracts for ships such as Cutty Sark, HMS Gannet, the Blue Mermaid and the Lord Nelson as well as being operative crew onboard vessels such as Sailing Barge Victor, The Cirdan Trust's Faramir, and Schooner Atlantic

June 2019

The Foundation is seeking two more apprentices: they are keen to share their wealth of knowledge with hard working individuals who seek to understand more about the intricacies of looking after both modern yachts and historic vessels, whilst working in a busy boatyard. If you are interested in a maritime career, or knows someone who is, please get in touch with them: 



Barge replica, Mermaid

Thames Sailing Barge Mermaid: the first full size Thames Sailing Barge to be built since 1930, she is a replica of a barge  of the same name, sunk by a mine during World War II with the loss of her crew. As a traditional Thames Sailing Barge, she will not have an engine and will be able to transport the equivalent of up to six articulated lorry loads in a low carbon environment. The 87ft. steel barge has been built by Sea-Change Sailing Trust and will be used for their work with young people as well as carrying cargo.

Brixham Trawler Torbay Lass: Heritage Marine Foundation recovered Torbay Lass BM163 previously Kenya Jacaranda from Tilbury Docks to prevent the vessel disposal and subsequent loss.  She now sits safely in a mud berth in Maldon and the removal of debris and installation of pumps and power supplies have ensured the vessel remains afloat and in a stable condition. Now awaiting restoration she is subject to the Heritage Marine Foundations lottery bid to restore her to sail again. 

Thames Sailing Barge Pudge: the ninety year old Sailing Barge has been subject to large amounts of restoration work to  her hull and now finds herself approaching the last stage of large scale work which should see her sailing for future generation. Heritage Marine Foundation have carried out an inspection and survey of the vessel, draw up and cost complete refit specification for the renewal of the deck and supporting structure and a complete internal refit including design and costing for a stage 2 bid to Heritage Lottery Fund.

Shotley Ceremonial Mast: Heritage Marine Foundation has carried out an initial inspectional and survey of the former   

HMS Ganges Ceremonial Trust

HMS Ganges mast in its current condition. On going research has led the Foundation to draw up an informed conservation plan and submit a consolidated statement to the council for the removal and complete restoration and reinstatement of the Training Mast for the former Royal Naval Training Establishment HMS Ganges at Shotley Suffolk.

Topsail Schooner Trade Wind: Heritage Marine Foundation was involved with the inspection and survey of the 1911 built Dutch Sailing Fishing Logger. Alongside the new prospected owners Heritage Sailing Ltd they have drawn up and cost a complete refit specification.  This includes shortening the vessel as well as the design and installation of a complete rig and new machinery installation and a complete internal refit. The new specification and survey will inform future decisions for Heritage Sailing Ltd current operators of the Lady Avenel.   

Trade Wind






November 2020 Heritage Marine Foundation has been awarded £17,500K from the Government's Culture Recovery Fund (second round).  Read more

Find out more about the Heritage Marine Foundation here.

Heritage Marine Foundation