Sea Class 15 ship picture 2 DATE UNKNOWN RN shared on 071220 CREDIT Royal Navy.jpg
Sea vessels

New Boats A 'Game Changer' For Dartmouth's Naval College

The Sea Class 15 vessels are being introduced at Britannia Royal Naval College under Project Vahana and will replace older craft.

Sea Class 15 ship picture 2 DATE UNKNOWN RN shared on 071220 CREDIT Royal Navy.jpg

Eight new boats could revolutionise training Dartmouth, after arriving at the town's world-renowned naval college.

The Sea Class 15 work boats will replace the aged picket boats currently used by Officer Cadets for exercise at Britannia Royal Naval College (BRNC).

The new boats measure 15m (49.2ft) and are being introduced under Project Vahana, a broader programme aimed at upgrading more than three dozen of the Royal Navy’s workboats.

Lieutenant Commander Mike Garner, the project leader, said the boats will be a "game-changer" in the way training is conducted.

"The picket boats are largely riverine craft, operated within the confines of the River Dart," he said.

"The new boats are much better suited to operating in open waters, allowing them to break away from the confines of the River Dart providing us with new and exciting ways of developing training."

Lt Cdr Garner added that the equipment on board the Sea Class 15 vessels and the new range capabilities will "allow the college to use them much more like small ships as opposed to just river boats".

Sea Class 15 ship picture 1 DATE UNKNOWN RN shared on 071220 CREDIT Royal Navy.jpg
The new boats are being introduced under Project Vahana (Picture: Royal Navy).

Staff at BRNC have been getting to grips with an 11m (36ft) version of the boat since the end of 2019.

The project leader also explained that the river team at BRNC is now "qualified" to drive the boats.

However, Lt Cdr Garner also added that the new boats work "in a completely different way to the picket boats".

He said: "We now need to take our time to understand their capabilities and redesign and reinvent our training programmes as we wait for the remaining seven boats to arrive.

"It’s a huge challenge, but this will eventually result in, arguably, the biggest change to our training for around 40 years and will give us bigger and better options to build that Naval Officer of the future."

Under Project Vahana, the new boats will support diving and survey operations, ferrying crew of HMS Prince of Wales ashore, or conduct general duties.

Some vessels, such as inshore survey ship HMS Magpie, have already been delivered under the £48m contract with Atlas Elektronik.

The boats are built to a generic design and additional features depend on their specific task.

They are expected to be in service at BRNC towards the autumn of 2021.

Cover image: Royal Navy.