The Restoration

The intention of the 'Vigilant Restoration Project’ is to bring Vigilant to full working order in pristine condition, maintaining historical integrity while creating an exciting vessel for modern day use. 

Over the past ten years, the Medway Maritime Trust (MMT) has worked on keeping Vigilant afloat and ensuring a safe berth.  The next phase of the project has now started. A full restoration plan is ongoing and funders are being sought. Discussions are taking place to establish where she will be restored. The favoured option is our present restoration facility at Sheerness Docks. 

Building 86 at Sheerness Docks.

Building 86 at Sheerness Docks.

Restoration will be over a five year period. Work will begin with assuring a solid hull. Concurrently, steam machinery and boiler will be acquired and reconditioned ready for active use. The framework, deck, cabin structure, steering mechanism, sail equipment, masts, cabin interiors, all follow on from the basic hull and engines.

Key steps to enabling the restoration are securing a land berth for the vessel, either at the premises at Sheerness or elsewhere; building a team of experts, from those whom MMT have worked with over the years, as well as new experienced maritime expertise; securing funding for the main work.

With over 40 years of experience restoring steam vessels, MMT has built up a skilled network of professionals who are ready to assist with the various aspects of restoration.  

For a more detailed look at specifications, engine and build, and historical detail, click HERE.


Restoration Plan  (in brief)

The first step is to secure a safe, dry environment for the work; dry-dock, slipway or craning her onto the land. 

Full surveys are necessary on the hull and superstructure to ascertain the extent of the work needed.

A specialist workforce will be engaged, part time or full time depending on the task. The project will have an administrator/fundraiser, a project manager and workshop manager employed full time. Other workers will be brought in as needed. There will be an emphasis on safety, broad age range and gender balance.

Project Planning
Project planning will be fully discussed with the Medway Maritime Trust and the Project Manager to ensure target delivery and best use of resources. An ‘Advisory Committee’ for specialist areas such as preservation, historical authenticity, steam machinery, waterway law etc. will be formed and be in direct communication with the Trustees. 

Workshop premises in proximity to the vessel are needed for fabrication facilities, project office and storage of parts and materials.

Metal and wood workshops, CNC and hydraulic presses, are needed for restoration. Medway Maritime Trust already have some of this equipment in their present facilities. 

Working Vessel
As the vessel enters the final stage of restoration, a new team of steam engine room crew, skipper, mate and deck crew, day to day staff and project manager, will be needed for the next active stage of the vessel’s life.