Shipshape Bristol Channel acts as a focal point bringing together the facilities in the Floating Harbour; boat building companies and specialist suppliers in Bristol, Somerset, Gloucestershire & South Wales; conservation expertise provided through the ss Great Britain and conservation contractors; Sharpness and Gloucester Docks; the museums, archives, and universities in Bristol, Gloucester, Swansea and Cardiff, as well as a range of vessels on the National Register of Historic Vessels.



The Underfall Boat Yard, Bristol Docks

Steamship Freshspring Society

Sabrina 5

M Shed



Hannah Cunliffe - Director, National Historic Ships UK


Thekla - at her mooring

Sloop built 1958 by Busumer-Schiffsmert, W & E Sielaff

Balmoral - underway, starboard view

Ferry built 1949 by Thornycroft, J I & Co Ltd, Woolston, Southampton


Built 1959 by Thames Launch Works, Twickenham


RB Boatbuilding Ltd is a traditional business based at Bristol's historic Underfall Yard.
The Company is dedicated to the re-creation and restoration of classic, 19th century, wooden working boats; notably the fast and seaworthy Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter, widely considered to be among the best sailing boats ever built.
Recent projects include 2 new pilot cutters and 2 new Cornish pilot gigs.


Distributors to trade and retail of the Robbins Elite range of marine plywoods for constructional and decorative purposes including lightweight and sound insulating panels. Specialists in classic teak decking, cedar strip, boatbuilding hardwoods and softwoods, West System epoxy, veneers and finishes. The Company has full sawmilling and planing facilities and are able to produce virtually any moulding to customer specifications. Robbins Timber also carry a wide range of copper, silicon bronze and stainless steel fastenings.

Provides a complete electrical/electronic service for repairs, installation and design of onboard systems. Specialist battery cable crimping and using the latest computer for diagnostic interrogation of batteries and charging systems.
Anode testing and corrosion monitoring. Battery and charging systems tested and installed. Engine monitoring instrumentation and alarms. DSC VHF sales and aerial installation. AC 240v and DC systems tested and installed. Radar, GPS, sounders, auto-pilots supplied and installed.


Writer and researcher on various aspects of maritime history with special attention to the fishing industry and fishing and other small traditional craft. Co-founder of the 40+ Fishing Boat Association and editor of 'Fishing Boats'. Red Herring Exhibitions specialise in the setting up of mobile exhibitions for maritime shows, food festivals etc - the most well known being 'Kipperland', which tells the story of the history of the herring fishing industry. Mike can also be emailed at:

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