Previous names

  • Seaby
Certificate no 2355
Status Registered


Function Service Vessel
Subfunction Tug
Location Ipswich
Vessel type Tug
Current use Private use
Available to hire No
Available for excursions No
Info required No


Builder Seismonsbergen, S, Amsterdam
Built in 1929
Hull material Steel
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
14.50 feet (4.42 m)
6.20 feet (1.89 m)
Length: Overall
54.60 feet (16.65 m)
Tonnage: Gross
Air Draft
To be confirmed



FENLAND is unique in being the oldest diesel 'working' tug in the UK that was originally diesel and not converted from steam. She was built as Seaby in Amsterdam for CW Beckett at Kingston-upon-Thames who were the first to operate a fleet of heavy-oil tugs on the Thames. She operated initially from Brentford Dock, before working on the Thames until 1947 when she was then bought by Wisbech council and renamed FENLAND.

She was subsequently sold to Clements-Knowling and continued to work on the Thames until 1980. Based at Maldon and working on the south and east coasts until 1990, FENLAND then became non-commercial. She was bought by her current owner in 2000 and while her condition is structurally good, has undergone some conservation work. Her engine was rebuilt in 2006, repairs were made to her hull in 2008 including shot-blasting and galvanising and if funds allow, her wheelhouse will be replaced with a more traditionally shaped structure. Seaby was originally fitted with an Kromhout 4-M-4 200 hp diesel which was replaced by a 1941 built Ricardo Paxman TP12 in 1956, and is still running with that diesel engine. The story of Seaby and her arrival in the UK is written in an article in the Motor Boat magazine dated November 22nd 1929. 

Key dates

  • 1929 Vessel built as SEABY in Amsterdam for use on the Thames
  • 1947 Vessel bought by Wisbech council and renamed FENLAND
  • 1990 Vessel retired from commercial service
  • 2000

    Bought by present owner

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