Certificate no 75
Status National Historic Fleet


Function Service Vessel
Subfunction Victualling
Location Crinan
Vessel type Victualling Inshore Craft
Current use Commercial Activity
Available to hire Yes
Available for excursions No
Info required No


Builder Dunston, Richard, Thorne
Built in 1943
Hull material Steel
Rig None
Number of decks 1
Number of masts
Propulsion Steam
Number of engines 1
Primary engine type Steam compound
Boiler type Vertical
Boilermaker Cochran & Co, Annan
Boiler year 1943
Boiler fuel coal


Breadth: Beam
18.49 feet (5.64 m)
8.00 feet (2.44 m)
Length: Overall
66.13 feet (20.17 m)
Tonnage: Gross
Air Draft
To be confirmed



VIC 32 was built in 1943 at Dunston's Shipyard in Thorne, Yorkshire and her engine was by Crabtree of Great Yarmouth. She was built on a 1939 Puffer design - boats that operated on the West Coast of Scotland, supplying the Highlands and islands with everything that was needed in these remote parts.

During the war, she is believed to have carried cement, ammunition and aviation fuel, delivering supplies to the fleet in Loch Eil and Scapa Flow. She was renamed C702 and worked at Rosyth Dockyard after the war. She was sold in December 1963 to Whites, Inverkeithing, to be scrapped, but was sold on and moved to Whitby for restoration, reverting to her original name.

In October 1975, she was purchased by Nick Walker and, in May 1976, steamed to London, where she was restored at St Katharine's Yacht Haven. The hold was converted into accommodation at two levels, the hatch boards were raised by 23 inches and windows were fitted in the sides to give a clerestory roof. She was then used by her owner for trips on the Thames and for a cruise to the French Channel coast. In 1978, VIC 32 sailed via Inverness and the Caledonian Canal to Crinan, on the Sound of Jura, in Argyll and Bute. She offered seven-day cruises from Tarbert to Loch Fyne and the Firth of Clyde, and on the Caledonian Canal, and was operated by Highland Steamboat Holidays Ltd.

In 1994, her base moved to Crinan Ferry. In 2004, her boiler failed its annual survey and she ceased operations. The Puffer Preservation Trust was formed to raise funds for a new boiler, and with the help of National Heritage Lottery funding, she was re-boilered in 2006 and returned to service, offering week-long cruises with the renamed Puffer Steamboat Holidays Ltd.

Source: Paul Brown, Historic Ships The Survivors (Amberley, 2010), updated Mar 2011.


Brouwer, Norman J, International Register of Historic Ships, Anthony Nelson, Edition 2, 1993
Steamboat Register: An illustrated Register of surviving steam vessels in the British Isles, Steam Boat Association of Great Britain, Edition 6, May 1994
Classic Boat: Cajuns on the Loch, December 1995
Ships Monthly: The Story of the VICs - Part 2: Post War Service, August 1991
Ships Monthly: Clyde 'Puffers' - a review of their rise and decline, May 1981
Ships Monthly: Clyde 'Puffers' - a review of their rise and decline (continued), June 1981
Ships Monthly: The Story of the VICs, July 1981
The Funnel, Edition 15

Key dates

  • 1943

    Built by Richard Dunston of Thorne and worked as a supply ship during Second World War

  • 1963

    Sold for scrap, but taken to Whitby for restoration

  • 1975

    Sold and moved to St Katharines Dock in London where the cargo space was converted to passenger accommodation

  • 1978

    Commenced cruises on the Crinan Canal, Scotland

  • 2004/2006

    Boiler failed and a new one installed


  • 2004-2005

    The Heritage Lottery Fund awarded £105,000 tp remove the exisitng boiler and replace with a purpose built replica

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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