In a momentous occasion for maritime enthusiasts and history buffs alike, the iconic PS Waverley, the world’s last seagoing paddle steamer, embarked on her maiden voyage from Shoreham Port on Wednesday, September 13, 2023. The picturesque harbour was alive with excitement as this living relic of maritime history set sail, carrying 600 eager passengers on a sold-out cruise.
The PS Waverley’s arrival at Shoreham Port was met with an enthusiastic crowd of onlookers gathered at Kingston Beach. Spectators marveled as the vessel gracefully docked at the Port’s Outer-Layby Terminal, a testament to the enduring fascination and charm of this historic paddle steamer.
Today’s voyage took passengers on a journey to Ryde, with diverse options for exploration. Some passengers disembarked to explore the enchanting Isle of Wight, while others chose to embark on a nostalgic journey aboard the Isle of Wight Steam Railway. Meanwhile, a group of lucky passengers opted to stay on board for an extended cruise through the Solent, where they had the opportunity to take in the breathtaking sights of the Needles Rocks and Lighthouse before disembarking at Yarmouth.
The PS Waverley, which first set sail in 1946 to replace a predecessor lost during the heroic Dunkirk evacuations of World War II, transitioned to her second career as one of the nation’s most beloved tourist attractions in 1974. Since then, she has earned numerous accolades, including a prestigious four-star rating from Visit Scotland and an engineering heritage award. Remarkably, she has ferried over 6 million passengers to more than 60 ports across the United Kingdom.
Shoreham Port’s Harbour Master, Julian Seaman commented “We’re excited to have welcomed the iconic Paddle Steamer Waverley to Shoreham Port for the first time today. It is fantastic that the excursion was so popular with local people; it is a testament to the enduring appeal of the vessel and the support of those who are passionate about preserving our maritime heritage. Thank you to the team at Waverley Excursions and Port colleagues who worked to ensure the morning ran smoothly.”