New Sightseeing Vessel is introduced onto the Thames

Thames River Services have announced a new addition to their fleet with the introduction of the MV Thomas Doggett, which will be fully operational in May 2017, providing a major boost to London’s tourism economy.

With 524 seats she becomes the largest of the Thames River Services fleet operating from Westminster Pier to St Katharine’s Dock, Greenwich Pier and the Thames Flood Barrier.

The vessel, costing over £2.5m, is purpose built for sightseeing and will provide four extra services a day to cope with the burgeoning demand for trips along the river. She has been 5 years in planning and was completed in Holland after the hull was built in Wales.

The vessel has been named after the 17th century Irish actor Thomas Doggett who started the first Doggett Coat and Badge race 302 years ago for young Watermen who work on the river. It is the oldest continuous sporting event in the world and the winner’s prize is a traditional Watermen’s scarlet tunic with a silver badge on the sleeve.

The new 36.42m long boat will be captained by fully qualified Watermen. She has a spacious lower saloon and large upper deck. The heated saloon features comfortable seats and large panoramic windows offering the best views of London. The upper deck has bench seating and 360 degree views perfect for taking photos of the famous sights.

The Thomas Doggett is fitted with a multilingual commentary system allowing passengers to use their smartphone to listen through their headphones in English, Spanish, French, German, Italian and Mandarin, without using their own data.

Paul Ludwig from Thames River Services said: “We are proud to see the introduction of the vessel into the Thames River Services fleet. London owes its existence to the River Thames and today represents another chapter in the fantastic history of our famous river which has served as a magnet for Londoners and visitors to the capital for centuries and is its oldest thoroughfare.

While the type of boats operating on the river may have changed over the years as the city has changed, the Thames will always be at the very centre of life in London and the Thomas Doggett ensures the fine tradition of the Watermen and Lightermen who made the river what it is today continues.”