Ninety minutes…

…on Lambeth Reach, May 3, 2023.
Sometimes while watching the river from Victoria Tower Gardens there’s little traffic but during a ninety minute stretch at the beginning of May there seemed to be more activity than usual. Logged in the order photographed, here are a few of the boats that passed during that time.

Thames Marine Services refuelling barge CONQUESTOR.

Thames Marine Services with their fixed refuelling barges at Westminster and Wapping, and their four delivery barges – ARMADOR II, HEIKO, CONQUESTOR, and GOSSO – not only provide a thoroughly professional bunkering service, they add colour and life to the Thames in London.

Narrow boats are usually a rare sight along Lambeth Reach: this was the CARPATHIA heading upstream.

Tide fast flowing past a Palace of Westminster marker.
Dunkirk Little Ship MOONRAKER heading downstream to St. Katharine Docks Marina.

Aware that some of the Dunkirk Little Ships would be heading downstream along Lambeth Reach to take part in the Coronation Celebrations for King Charles III at St. Katharine Docks Marina, I was on the lookout and lucky enough to spot five of them. MOONRAKER was the first. It’s still hard to take in the courage needed to sail little boat like her across the Channel, let alone under bombardment.

Cory tug REGAIN.

Among the boats that passed upstream were three Cory tugs: Firstly REGAIN, then RESOURCE and RECOVERY, whose pictures you’ll see below. They were heading with their barges of empty containers to collect filled containers of waste from their depots at Western Riverside, Wandsworth and Cringle Dock, Battersea, before transporting them to their Belvedere riverside processing and re-cycling facility.

Five immature gulls.

Not only are there boats to watch but birds: in this instance a group of immature herring gulls floating upstream with the tide.

GPS tug ILLYRIA passing Police launch NINA MACKAY III.

GPS Marine tugs often sail along Lambeth Reach. The company is the “largest multi cargo intra port barge operator on the River Thames and Medway” and has a wide range of marine vessels for hire. They are always interesting to see, either on their way to collect a tow, or towing barges filled with a variety of materials.

PLA harbour launch BARNES.

Seldom a walk by the river passes without seeing a Port of London Authority harbour service boat. BARNES is one of their “fleet of four purpose-built patrol vessels operating in the middle and lower reaches of the tidal Thames, between Putney Bridge and the North Sea.”


One of Thames Water’s skimmer vessels heading upstream, ready to collect all kinds of litter from the river.

Camera/film boat.

Small boat, darting about along Lambeth Reach, which appeared to be following and filming the Dunkirk Little Ships as they made their way downstream.

Dunkirk Little Ship GAY VENTURE heading downstream.

After MOONRAKER came three more Dunkirk Little Ships: GAY VENTURE, NAIAD ERRANT and TOM TIT all heading for St. Katharine Docks Marina to join in the weekend’s festivities.

Dunkirk Little Ship NAIAD ERRANT.
Dunkirk Little Ship TOM TIT.
GPS tug CERVIA side-towing a barge of aggregate to a site upstream.
CPBS Marine Services’ workboat WATCHDOG heading upstream to carry out a crew transfer.

CPBS Marine Services based at Temple Pier, operate a wide range of craft, working on a wide variety of projects throughout the UK, including multicats, tugs and workboats, which I see often along Lambeth Reach.

CORY tug RECOVERY heading upstream.
Dunkirk Little Ship MARY IRENE heading downstream.

MARY IRENE was the fifth and final of the five Dunkirk Little Ships that passed by during the ninety minutes.

CPBS Marine WATCHDOG heading back to base.

CPBS Marine’s WATCHDOG heading back downstream with crew or workers collected from a site upstream.

PS Wake Notes
These three last photographs, taken on other days, are of boats that regularly appear when I’m down by the river but for some reason on May 3rd, I must have missed them.Yet they are very much a part of the Lambeth Reach scene and are almost guaranteed to appear if one spends any time there.

SUN Clipper.

You can find out about the Uber Boat Thames Clipper Service here.


Very popular with tourists, M.V. SILVER BONITO can be seen regularly with a full consignment of sightseers. Find details of the London Eye River Cruise here.


The Terrible Thames Horrible Histories river tour is hugely popular too and sounds great fun. Their two actors bring history to life with verve and humour and when SILVER SOCKEYE is turned to head back towards Westminster Bridge their voices can be clearly heard across the water: ” What goes around comes around.”.