Previous names

  • 1994 Eileen Siocht
Certificate no 500
Status National Historic Fleet


Function Service Vessel
Subfunction Cruiser, Customs
Location Chatham
Vessel type Customs & Excise Launch
Current use Ongoing conservation
Available to hire No
Available for excursions No
Info required Yes
Web address


Builder Cox & Company, Falmouth
Built in 1901
Hull material Steel
Rig None
Number of decks 1
Number of masts
Propulsion Steam
Number of engines 1
Primary engine type Steam
Boiler type Unknown
Boilermaker Unknown


Breadth: Beam
16.00 feet (4.88 m)
7.87 feet (2.40 m)
Length: Overall
99.93 feet (30.48 m)
Tonnage: Gross
Air Draft
To be confirmed



VIGILANT was built in 1901 by Cox & Company, Falmouth, for the Commissioners of HM Customs as a customs cutter. She is the sole surviving vessel from the 1911 Spithead Review and was converted to a private yacht in 1920. She later became a houseboat based at Shoreham. Subsequently, her condition deteriorated and she was later found in the yard of Pound's Marine Shipping Ltd, at Portsmouth. VIGILANT was purchased by The Vigilant Trust in 1992.

In July 2007, she was towed to Faversham where she was berthed pending plans for her continuing conservation and in January 2008, she was being prepared for a move to a parcel of land within the port where she will undergo restoration. Update Feb 2020: VIGILANT currently at Chatham Docks, is being prepared for the short tow to Maldon, Essex, where it is proposed a full restoration to steaming condition will take place. A new plywood temporary deck has been made and the Medway Maritime Trust are awaiting the recommendations of the surveyor for temporary hull repairs in order to get insurance for the tow and approval from Port of London Authority to cross the Thames estuary.

We are currently seeking further information on this National Historic Fleet vessel. If you have any details about this vessel past or present, please contact us.


Brouwer, Norman J, International Register of Historic Ships, Anthony Nelson, pp180, Edition 2, 1993    
PR Magazine: Woods International Yacht Register, 1993
Hewer, David, Sea History The Return of HM Coast Guard Cutter Vigilant, pp47, Spring Volume 65, 1993 

Key dates

  • 1901

    Built by Cox & Co. of Falmouth for the Commissioners of Customs

  • 1911

    Took part in the Spithead Review and is now the last surviving vessel  from this Review

  • 1920

    Sold out of service and converted to a yacht. Later, became a houseboat at Shoreham

  • 1992

    Found deteriorating at Pounds Yard, Portsmouth and bought by the Vigilant Trust

  • 2007

    Towed to Faversham for restoration


  • 1993

    The National Heritage Memorial Fund awarded £50,000 for restoration works

  • 2007-2008

    A grant was awarded to the grant for £20,000 from the PRISM Fund

  • April 2007 - March 2008

    A Sustainability Grant of £3000 for the costs of legal advice was made from the Strategic Development Fund of National Historic Ships

Own this vessel?

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

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