UK ferry converted into a Thames party boat

The conversion of the 'MV Pearl of London' was completed at the beginning of May Photo: London Party Boats
The conversion of the 'MV Pearl of London' was completed at the beginning of May Photo: London Party Boats
The former ferry 'Gosport Queen' used to run passengers the short distance between Portsmouth and Gosport Photo: London Party Boats
The former ferry 'Gosport Queen' used to run passengers the short distance between Portsmouth and Gosport Photo: London Party Boats

A UK passenger ferry has been converted to begin a new life as party boat on the Thames River in London.

The former ferry Gosport Queen owned by the Gosport Ferry Company, was previously used to run passengers the short distance between Portsmouth and Gosport.

"The reason we decided to purchase an ex passenger ferry in the UK, instead of building a new vessel, is mainly to keep the costs down. To have a vessel built to the required UK & MCA standards would have been twice, if not three times, the amount we ended up spending," Robert Cairns, managing director, London Party Boats Ltd, told MJ.

"The other reason was that all the Gosport ferries were maintained to a very high standard, not to mention being the adequate the size for our requirements. We have now got a fantastic new vessel which so far has had a great response from all of our clients and is proven to be one of the largest and most popular vessels in London to date."

Conversion

The conversion of the MV Pearl of London was completed at the beginning of May and commenced service for London Party Boats on Friday 25 May.

All work was completed by Thames Craft Drydocking with Ian Darley completing all the design and consultancy work.

Work was completed at Thames Craft drydocking yard at north Greenwich and the fit out was completed in Tilbury dock.

From purchase to completion, the time taken for the conversion project was 16 months with work starting at the beginning of July 2017. Total cost including purchase was £1.1 million.

Previously in 2015, the vessel’s sister ship Portsmouth Queen left Gosport after serving nearly 50 years with the Gosport Ferry company.

The vessel was also purchased for alternative use on the River Thames as a houseboat.

The Gosport Ferry Company said that the vessels had been sold because they were becoming increasingly difficult to find spare parts for.

Gosport Ferry Company’s newest addition to its fleet of three vessels was Harbour Spirit in 2015. It was designed by Houlder and built by Tehnomont Shipyard in Croatia.

By Anne-Marie Causer

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