The Last Coal Fired Twin Engine Steam Tug?

See Portwey at the Classic Boat Rally
St Katharine Docks, near Tower Bridge
September 9th-11th 2022


Select here for July 2022 Update.

PORTWEY is one of only two twin screw, coal fired steam tugs now active in the United Kingdom. She is one of the vessels included in the core collection of historic ships at National Historic Ships UK.

Built by Harland and Wolff on the Clyde in 1927, she was first owned by the Portland and Weymouth Coaling Company (hence the name) and worked along the south coast of England, being based at Portland.

The crew normally meet every Wednesday afternoon and evening .... why not come along?

PORTWEY being saluted at HMS PRESIDENT on her 90th Birthday

During the second World War the tug was controlled by the U.S. Army and was based at Dartmouth, part of her duties being to tow in damaged craft, on one occasion narrowly missing being hit by a bomb. In 1951 PORTWEY was sold to the Falmouth Dock and Engineering Company where she spent the rest of her working life, helping, during this time, with the construction of the Lizard and Anglesey Lifeboat Stations.

In 1967, destined for the scrap yard at the end of her working life, PORTWEY was bought by Richard Dobson, who, with a group of dedicated friends, restored the tug to her former glory and maintained her for the next 15 years. In 1982 they were no longer able to continue this work and the tug steamed to London and was donated to the Maritime Trust. The Steam Tug Portwey Association took PORTWEY on Demise Charter from the Trust and continued the restoration, preservation and operation, steaming in the Thames and Medway during the year.

In June 2000 the Steam Tug PORTWEY Trust was created and the Trust purchased the tug from the Maritime Trust. The Trust is a Limited Company with Charitable Status. PORTWEY's current permanent berth is in the South Quay of the West India Docks, London, and is easily accessible from South Quay Station on the Docklands Light Railway. Visitors and volunteers are very welcome - please contact the Secretary by letter or email ( to make arrangements.

Portwey Needs Your Help!

The volunteers normally meet every Wednesday from approximately 2pm until 9pm at South Quay (Find Us).

We are looking for volunteers that can spend a few hours assisting us maintain and run Portwey, either with your time or by making donations to assist keeping this vessel working.

Why not join up and help keep Portwey steaming on...

Join Us


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For further information please contact:
The Steam Tug Portwey Trust,4 Almond Avenue, Wickford, Essex, SS12 0BN