About Blyth Tall Ship


On deck on the Baltic Trader Williams II (c) Blyth Tall Ship


Blyth Tall Ship is a pioneering project that sets out to recapture the spirit of adventure and global entrepreneurship that was employed in Blyth to discover the Antarctic land mass 200 years ago in a sailing ship called the Williams. It sets out to inspire future generations to fulfil their potential and improve their communities well-being by:


- Running a traditional boatyard that introduces engineering skills through the medium of traditional boat building to unemployed and marginalised people, working alongside retired engineers and craftsmen, and helping them to find work.

- Restoring and maintaining a 100 year old wooden Baltic Trader as an offshore training vessel and for heritage sail training (see image above).

- Developing a museum and visitor attraction alongside their partners on the quayside at Blyth which also offers the lonely and isolated a friendly place to gather and take part in heritage activities such as Gansey Knitting and Archiving.

- Co-ordinating a large volunteer group in support of their community and every aspect of the project including social events and open days.



Learn to Build Boats!


There is a huge renewed interest in our local maritime culture across the UK. At Blyth, in the North East of England, the team are supporting people to learn traditional boat building and shipwright skills. Blyth has been a busy port for many hundreds of years and boats that were built here traded across the world’s oceans. Indeed, a boat from Blyth discovered Antarctica. The team want to continue that tradition and encourage a whole new generation into traditional boat building.


Boat Building at Blyth Tall Ship (c) Blyth Tall Ship


They offer a free Level 1 NVQ course in our heritage boat yard, and the opportunity to work up to level 2 and 3 NVQ. They welcome anyone who would like to visit them and learn more. This can be a springboard into whole new area of personal or career development.





Training at Blyth Tall Ship


Blyth Tall Ship delivers high quality accredited foundation learning in engineering through the medium of heritage boat building skills. They deliver NVQ's in Marine Engineering Levels 1, 2 and 3 through EAL. This allows their trainees and apprentices to gain transferable industry standard skills.


Occasionally they offer additional courses in welding, marine engines, fork lift driving, working at heights, abrasive wheels, chan saw and wind turbine building as well as courses in basic seamanship on their tall ship, the Williams II.


They use a high ratio of trainers to learners to ensure the very best opportunity to learn and progress is delivered. Their trainees work alongside volunteers with a lifetime of experience in the offshore and engineering industry who provide a sounding block and positive example from another generation. They also have the opportunity to visit local engineering and offshore companies to see first-hand the sorts of careers they could engage in.


Because they are small and independent, they are able to develop cost effective, specific skills courses in short time scales, to industry led demand and standards. Indeed because of their foundation process, they can act as a recruitment agency, sourcing new skilled individuals and training them in advance for specific roles. They have done this for Tharsus Engineering and the Port of Blyth and would be happy to speak to other engineering organisations with similar needs.


They are funded by a range of channels including sponsorship, donations, running sailing trips and grant funding including The National Heritage Lottery Fund, as well as a number of other organisations such as the Port of Blyth, Northumberland County Council, Catapult, Job Centre Plus and many of the charities administered by the Community Foundation.


They introduce all trainees and less experienced engineering volunteers to the project through an 8-week (two days a week) Level 1 NVQ in Engineering Operations.





Blyth Tall Ship volunteers


Blyth Tall Ship works with volunteers on every element of their programme for 3 reasons:


- Community transformation only happens from within

- Inter-generational learning is a proven pathway to community cohesion and the development of young people

- Skilled volunteers provide professional services that our charity could not otherwise afford. Thus, the Friends of Blyth Tall Ship are a central element of their success.


They are a friendly bunch enjoying each other’s company as they work. Roles include helping young people building and conserving traditional boats in their workshops, researching, restoring and cataloguing the port of Blyth archive, supporting open days and events.


Blyth Tall Ship crew


They also recruit and train experienced crew for sailing the Williams II. Even with little experience you could be helping out quickly by attending their NVQ training courses, sailing onboard the ship, knitting hats, gloves, scarves and Ganseys or being trained by their archive team.


Find out more about the Friends of Blyth Tall Ship, their Achievements and Future Plans here.



Latest News


October 2023 Blyth Tall Ship have unveiled their 2024 sailing schedule aboard Williams II Full story


October 2022 Blyth Tall Ship's Clive Gray (pictured, below) has been recognised with a prestigious Heritage Award. Full story 


Clive Gray



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