Certificate no 2762
Status Registered


Function Service Vessel
Subfunction Fire Float
Location Rye
Vessel type Fireboat
Current use Ongoing conservation
Available to hire Yes
Available for excursions No
Info required No


Builder Merryweather & Sons, Clapham
Built in 1926
Hull material Wood
Rig None
Number of decks 1
Number of masts 0
Propulsion Motor
Number of engines 1
Primary engine type Inboard diesel
Boiler type
Boilermaker None


Length: Overall
69.00 feet (21.03 m)
Breadth: Beam
13.83 feet (4.22 m)
Tonnage: Gross


BETA III is a Thames fire float built in 1926 by Merryweathers of Greenwich. She is the sister ship to MASSEY SHAW, but at 70ft she is 10ft shorter in length. She was involved in fighting fires on the Thames throughout the Second World War, most notatbly a fire at the Tate & Lyle factory. She is believed to be the oldest surviving Thames fire float.

She ceased to be in active service some time in the 1950s and since then has been used as a tourist boat and a houseboat. The original twin engines were replaced by a single 1950s Gardner engine.

At the time of registration, BETA III was out of the water and repairs were being made to her hull. The interior was stripped at an earlier date and will be refitted in due course in order for the vessel to operate as a houseboat.  She will then be brought back up to the Thames.

Key dates

  • 1926

    Vessel commissioned by the London Fire Brigade in 1926 and built by Merryweathers of Greenwich

  • c 1950

    Vessel ceased to be in active service and was subsequently used as a tourist boat and a houseboat

Own this vessel?

If you are the owner of this vessel and would like to provide more details or updated information, please contact info@nationalhistoricships.org.uk

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