Over the past twenty five years the Friends in partnership with Jersey Heritage have been actively collecting examples of boats which were either built locally or extensively used in the island. These range from the long-liner Fiona (c.1860) to a couple of Stapley dinghies built in the 1960s on South Pier. As they were all in various stages of repair or disrepair and in need of restoration a fully functional workshop was included within the Maritime Museum. Criteria for the creation of this heritage fleet were decided and these informed the restoration programme. The criteria are :-
visual interest to museum visitors
physical state of the boat, and
potential for sponsorship
Work being carried out on the boats is part of the Maritime Museum's interpretive scheme and so the boatbuilders talk to our visitors explaining what work is being done and answering any questions that may be posed.
It was also decided that the restored boats should be kept afloat in the old harbour or in the Town Marina and most importantly used. At present we have seven historic boats in the fleet -
Fiona, an 1860s gaff rigged cutter
Florence, a gunter rigged 1913 Hamble One Design
Jesse, a gunter rigged 1913 Hamble One Design
Circassian II, a replica LaRocque lugsailed fishing boat
Diana, a late 19th century motor launch
Martlet, a post War workboat
RNLB Howard D., a 1937 Liverpool class lifeboat
- and all are in regular use.
Since the Jersey Heritage Fleet was set up some of our boats have been entered on to the National Small Boats Register and the Howard D. is on the National Register of Historic Vessels.
The National Register of Historic Vessels (NRHV is maintained and administered by the Advisory Committee on National Historic Ships - a non-departmental public body reporting to the UK’s Department of Culture, Media and Sport maintain). Set up in 2006 as the successor to the National Historic Ships Committee, which emerged from a seminar held in 1991 to discuss the problems facing the preservation of historic ships and vessels in the UK and the evident neglect of this important part of our heritage. Originally vessels submitted were to be over 40ft but from 2009 the length was reduced to 33ft to cover the gap between registers.
National Small Boat Register (NSBR), developed by the National Maritime Museum Cornwall is intended to collect details of all the nationally and regionally important boats in the country.
Of the Jersey Heritage boats Diana, Fiona, Florence and Jessie are all entered in the National Small Boat Register. Howard D although just under 36ft was originally entered onto the NSBR but as of 2009 vessels was transferred onto the NHSR.