NB Vigilante


BSS to May 2026

This very unique boat was originally built in 1961 and was the first narrowboat commissioned by the newly formed British Water Board, amazingly there is a  copy of the original receipt from W.J.Yarwood & Sons for her construction. Originally she was built with a centre cockpit and larger fore deck, and crewed by two men in white uniforms with brass buttons, according to some research records that come with the boat.
In 1970 Vigilante was converted so the Chief Engineer could live aboard whilst carrying out his inspections.
She was sold as part of a dispersal sale in 1989, at which point she had 4 bunks and 1 double berth. Some documents from this sale remain along with her plan at that time. In 2004 she took up her current layout when she was refitted by a previous owner.
Being of shipyard construction, there are a number of unusual features including the way the cabin top is formed and the bow shape which allowed her to approach shallow areas in her inspection boat role, as well as some reports of her being used for ice breaking.
There is no reference to original steel thickness or survey but she was last blacked in 2014 and had anodes fitted.

Height to Cabin Centre 6ft (1.83m)

Forward Well deck (5ft 6”/1.7m):

As is expected of this type of vessel she has an open bow with a steel roof and canvas sides. At the forward end is the gas locker is sited.  The main area has cushioned seating on both sides that can be cushioned over entirely for cosy alfresco summer evenings.

Saloon (19ft 6”/5.9m) :

Entrance is through a single full height door in the bow, and in to the salon area, it has two long bench style seats down either side and a Coalbrookdale stove for warmth.  At the end is a small galley kitchen which is set to both sides, one side has a fridge and sink, while the other a Flavel 1/2 size gas cooker with 2 burners, grill and a small oven. A sliding door leads in to the next area which has storage shelves and the fresh water tank to one side, a small toilet compartment on the other and side hatches on both sides.

Bathroom (6ft/1.82m) :

Set in a side cabin is a dump though toilet with small corner hand basin.

Storage Area (4ft 3”/1.31m):

Aft of the bathroom is a compartment 4ft 3” long and the entire width of the boat, currently being used as a storage area.   There is no regular access to the engine room from the main cabin, although there is a door bolted from the engine room that can be opened to facilitate servicing.

Engine Room & Electrics:

Accessed by a door from the stern is the engine room, it houses the Lister HA2  serial number 2532 HA2 MAO, with a lister gearbox. There is a single dynamo charging the starter battery and an alternator producing 35amps  connected to 1 domestic battery and the 12v system.

Cruiser Stern :

The helm position is decked in wood with a wooden topped rail surrounding the stern.  Gear selection is through a decorative brass lever passing through the aft deck (there is also a less conspicuous steel item in the engine room).  Engine control is by an original brass Lister engine control mounted on the aft of the cabin.  There is a set of canvas covers to provide weather protection when not in use.

Other Equipment:

3 x 3.9Kg gas bottles, life ring, mooring equipment.

Please be aware the owner has declared to us that the boat is not in the best of conditions and the roof especially needs attention, however for someone looking for an unusual vessel and to be part of a great piece of history, could this be the boat for you?



50ft /15.24m  BW Inspection Launch 1961
Hull by Yarwoods
Re Fitted in 2004 by Owner

S/F Stove


Additional information




40ft – 50ft