School of Marine Science and Technology

Research Vessel, The Princess Royal


Newcastle University's new research vessel, The Princess Royal, has been designed in-house by staff and students in the School of Marine Science and Technology.

The catamaran has established itself as the ideal platform for small research vessels due to its stability, large deck area and manoeuvrability.

Our unique marriage of the catamaran and the deep-vee hull form with anti-slamming bulbous bows gives enhanced seakeeping, efficiency and speed potential whilst maintaining its other inherent virtues.

With an operational area encompassing the North-East coast of England, it is no coincidence that the boat features tunnel sterns and the deep fore-foot of the Northumbrian Coble.

The boat was even built locally, with the winning tender awarded to Alnmaritec, a boat builder based in Blyth.


Download our Princess Royal brochure (PDF: 713 KB)

Hire the Princess Royal

The vessel is available for commercial and private charter. See the Hire tab above for more information. 

Track the Princess Royal

You can track the Princess Royal as she sails around the North Sea by visiting and inserting the name 'Princess Royal, UK'.


All enquiries are welcomed and should be made to:

Dr Ben Wigham
Research Vessel Manager
Dove Marine Laboratory
School of Marine Science and Technology
Newcastle University
North Shields
NE30 4PZ

Telephone: +44 (0)191 208 3054 or +44 (0)191 208 7831
Fax: +44 (0)191 252 1054


Mr Neil Armstrong
Master of Research Vessel Princess Royal

Newcastle University School of Marine Science & Technology,
Blyth Marine Station,
Quay Road,
NE24 3PA.

Telephone: +44 (0)1670353793

Virtual tour

The Princess Royal is based at our Blyth Marine Station. Take a virtual tour of the vessel.


Find out about our on-board facilities.

The Princess Royal carries:

  • enough fuel to cover 5000 miles at eight knots
  • sufficient food and water to remain at sea for three days
  • three drum trawl winches, each weighing 2 tonnes each and able to carry 200 metres of 12mm diameter wire
  • a deck crane, providing lifting facilities over the working deck


The vessel is certified by the Marine and Coastguard Agency for up to four crew and twelve scientists on a day basis. Life Saving Appliances are carried for sixteen people.

The wheelhouse is spacious and allows up to ten people to have bench space.

Equipped with bench top PCs, a fridge/freezer and data and power for external equipment.

Below decks there are two cabins with bunks for four people, a galley/mess room, small shower and bathroom.


The Princess Royal is an integral facility for our undergraduate and postgraduate teaching.

Students from marine science and engineering degrees have access to the vessel throughout their time here at Newcastle. They take part in a series of structured practical sessions and independent dissertation project work.

On average students will spend five days working on the vessel during their degree programmes. They experience a range of activities, from oceanographic characterisation of river plumes to remote camera surveys of offshore habitats.

Teaching on board

The Princess Royal has specially designed observation windows to observe propeller cavitation in real-time within a natural environment. This allows students to compare calculations from the drawing board with a ‘real-world’ example.

The vessel has been designed as a floating laboratory for both marine scientists and engineers. Our students can investigate every aspect of the marine environment and assess and manipulate the performance of a small craft within that environment.

Marine Science

Students on our marine science degrees take practical courses on sea survival and survey planning.

They will also become familiar using:

  • static and towed fishing gears
  • remotely operated vehicles
  • autonomous camera systems
  • oceanographic survey and sampling (CTDs, fluorometers and side-scan sonar)

Marine Engineering

Marine engineering students and naval architects use the vessel as a functional example for much of their taught theory. This includes small craft design, hydrodynamics, engine performance, marine noise and propeller cavitation.


Find out about the Princess Royal's specifications.

For full details, including equipment and capabilities, download our Princess Royal brochure (PDF: 713 KB)


Length Overall 18.9m
Beam Overall 7.3m
Design Draft 1.64m
Displacement (light) 36 tonnes
Payload 5 tonnes
Max Speed 20 knots
Cruising Speed 15 knots
Engines 2 x 600hp
Propulsion Fixed pitch propellers

Normal Area of Operation

The coastal waters, rivers and estuaries of North East England.

Operating Conditions

  • Classification MCA category 2
  • Sea state 4-5
  • Range 400 nautical miles


The Princess Royal is available for commercial charter.

The flexible nature of the vessel platform makes her ideally suited for wind-farm support, marine mammal and bird survey, servicing of moored oceanographic equipment and more traditional EIA support work such as benthic trawling, sediment sampling and habitat mapping.

She is also fully equipped to support a broad range of martime research in both the marine science and engineering fields.

We welcome enquiries and collaboration with researchers from UK and EU institutes.

Using our vessel

The Princess Royal is ideally placed to provide support for coastal research around the UK coastline and the wider North Sea.

We have a strong track record of supporting the UK marine consultancy and energy industries and have worked in both our local coastal waters and further afield around the British Isles.

We are fully certified for workboat activities by the MCA and have undergone a full audit by representatives of the UK offshore renewable sector.

All documents related to the vessel and her crew are available on request as are references from past and current clients.


If you are interested in chartering the Princess Royal in support of your work we are happy to discuss your requirements.

We can provide quotations and assistance with logistical planning for both grant and contract applications.

Contact Dr Ben Wigham.

Telephone: +44 (0)191 208 3054 or +44 (0)191 208 7831
Fax: +44 (0)191 252 1054