Previous names

  • 1958 - 1985 HMS Powderham
Certificate no 1787
Status Archived


Function Service Vessel
Location North Shields
Vessel type Survey Vessel
Archive reason Disposed
Current use None
Available to hire No
Available for excursions No
Info required No


Builder White, J Samuel & Co Ltd, Cowes, Isle of Wight
Built in 1957
Hull material
Rig None
Number of decks 1
Number of masts
Propulsion Motor
Number of engines 1
Primary engine type Diesel
Boiler type None
Boilermaker None


Breadth: Beam
22.00 feet (6.71 m)
6.49 feet (1.98 m)
Length: Overall
105.93 feet (32.31 m)
Tonnage: Gross
Air Draft
To be confirmed



WATERWITCH, a HAM class inshore survey vessel, was built by J Samuel White of Cowes between 1957 and 1958. She was commisioned as HMS POWDERHAM (M2720). LOA 106ft, MB22ft, 6ft 6in DR. 120 disp, 150 disp laden. Original armanent was 1 x 40mm Bofors and 2 x 120mm Oerlikon guns. Main engines are twin Davey Paxman YHAX, V12 diesel of 550shp. Carries 15 tons of fuel giving a range of 1200nm at 10-12knots. Naval complement 15/22 officers and ratings.

After a period of Operation Reserve and Special Trails Unit (1960/1) she was in service with the Forth Division Royal Naval Reserve (1962/3). She returned to STU (Portsmouth) until 1964 when she underwent conversion at Chatham to survey vessel and was renamed WATERWITCH.

Manned by a civilian crew of the Port Auxilliary Service she operated as part of the South Coast Survey Until until 1974. After refit she was allocated the pennant M304 and took part in the 1977 Silver Jubilee Fleet Review at Spithead. In 1980 she was renumbered M272 and again operated on the south coast until she replaced HMS DEE as tender to Liverpool University RN Unit, where she remained under the White Ensign until paying off in March 1985. She was laid up at Camber Dock & Portchester Creek until being towed to Goole in 1991, where she was found in decrepit condition. After being made seaworthy she sailed under her own power to the Tyne to be prepared for her role as a Motor Training Vessel by the volunteers of PROJECT M2720.


Project M2720 Newsletter, April/May Volume 1, 2000
Project M2720 Newsletter, May/June Volume 1, 2000
Fricker, A & Holtham, D, FSL WATERWITCH - Craft Report, World Ship Society SCHRG

Key dates

  • 1957

    Built by J Samuel White at Cowes as an inshore survey vessel

  • 1958

    Named HMS POWDERHAM and allocated Pennant No. M 2720

  • 1960

    In commission with 50th Minesweeping Squadron then laid up in Operational Reserve

  • 1961

    In service with Forth Division of Royal Naval Reserve

  • 1963

    At Portsmouth for Special Trials

  • 1964

    Converted at Chatham to Inshore Survey Vessel and renamed WATERWITCH

  • 1974

    Refitted at Portsmouth and allocated pennant M304

  • 1977

    Took part in Silver Jubilee Fleet Review at Spithead

  • 1985

    Paid off at Portsmouth and officially decommissioned

  • 1986

    Sold to Pounds Shipbreakers and Shipowners of Portsmouth

  • 1993

    Renamed Old peculiar and moved to Goole Ship Breakers Yard

  • 1997

    Arrived at Albert Edward Dock, North Shields for conversion to Motor Training Vessel

  • 2006

    Possibly broken up - reported in 2013, but unconfirmed

Own this vessel?

If you are the owner of this vessel and would like to provide more details or updated information, please contact

More like this

Havengore Sailing

Registered, built 1955 by Tough Bros, Teddington

Sir Claude Inglis - starboard view

Registered, built 1968 by Groves & Gutteridge Ltd, Cowes

Conservancy - starboard view

Registered, built 1958 by Brooke Marine, Oulton Broad, Lowestoft