VESSEL REVIEW | All Aboard – Edinburgh charity/church partnership to operate Union Canal charter boat

Photo: People Know How

Edinburgh-based charity People Know How and Edinburgh’s Polwarth Parish Church have begun regular sailings of a new boat built for short excursions in Union Canal that connects the Scottish capital to the town of Falkirk.

The partners said that the custom-built charter vessel, named All Aboard, will be used primarily as a platform for various projects and events that will benefit the local community. Activities that will utilise the boat include social, educational, and spiritual gatherings of families and other small groups.

Reverend Jack Holt, Polwarth Parish Minister, said the boat will be used by People Know How during the week and the church in the evenings and weekends. In church use, duties will include mission outreach work, but the minister clarified that the boat will not be available for hire.

The Church of Scotland, to which the Polwarth Parish Church belongs, said the boat could potentially be used as an alternative to the local church building for wedding ceremonies, especially following the easing of Covid-19 restrictions in the country.

Photo: People Know How

Measuring 18 metres long, the vessel will be manned and maintained by an all-volunteer crew from the community. The yellow, white and blue wide-beam canal boat has been custom designed inside with a galley, a toilet, a flexible social space, and access for wheelchair-bound guests. Reverend Holt said the partnership decided on a wide-beam boat to provide the maximum amount of uncluttered interior space to be accessible by all.

The boat is designed to cruise at a leisurely and safe 3.4 knots. The minister remarked that the slow speed will provide a sense of peace and calm and create an appropriate atmosphere for when the boat is used to accommodate individuals who are benefiting from the parish’s mental health program.

All Aboard was handed over to its new owners in June 2021 and began sailings later that same year. It was acquired with the aid of £50,000 (US$69,000) in grant funding awarded by Ecclesiastical Insurance Group.

The boat was built by The New and Used Boat Company based in Droitwich in Worcestershire, England.

Click here to read other news stories, features, opinion articles, and vessel reviews as part of this month’s Passenger Vessel Week.

All Aboard
Type of vessel:Charter boat
Owner:People Know How, UK; Polwarth Parish Church, UK
Builder:The New and Used Boat Company, UK
Length overall:18 metres
Cruising speed:3.4 knots
Accommodation:Toilet; galley
Operational area:Union Canal, Edinburgh

Baird Maritime

The best maritime site on the web. The sea's our scene!