Owners of the historic paddlesteamer The Waverley say they don’t know whether it will set sail in the Bristol Channel this year.
The paddlesteamer was withdrawn from service for the first time in half a century last summer due to it needing £2.3 million in repairs, including two new boilers.
The ship, which runs excursions in the Bristol Channel and sails from Clevedon Pier, was put into dry dock at Glasgow Science Centre – and all cruises cancelled – and a fundraising campaign launched.
Other repairs are still being carried out but, due to the coronavirus pandemic, it is not known whether the Waverley will be able to set sail this summer.
And operators have yet to publish a 2020 sailing programme, keeping the situation under ‘constant review’.
Clevedon Pier is currently closed to the public due to the coronavirus pandemic.
A statement from Waverley Excursions Limited said: “Waverley now has her two new boilers in place and some work is continuing on the boiler refit but at a much-reduced pace owing to the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions.
“For this same reason we haven’t published a 2020 programme.
“We don’t know whether we can welcome passengers on board in 2020.
“We are keeping plans under constant review and waiting to see how and when government guidance evolves.
“The whole Waverley team is working hard to return Waverley to service and looks forward to welcoming passengers back aboard when the time is right.
“As soon as a plan becomes possible or if we reach a point where it’s simply not feasible to sail in 2020, we’ll update our website.”
Funding for the refit and boiler work on the much loved ship came from a public appeal.
Cash also came from the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society, several trusts and businesses and a £1 million grant from the Scottish Government.
The repair and improvements to the Waverley is the most substantial refit since her rebuild was completed back in 2003.
The Waverley is owned by a registered charity and operated on a not-for-profit basis.
It was built in Glasgow for the London and North Eastern Railway and entered service in June 1947.
It is the last seagoing paddle steamer in the world and was gifted to the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society in 1974 for £1.
Since 1975 she has operated in preservation carrying over six million passengers, visiting many areas of the UK offering a variety of day, afternoon and evening cruises.
The ship has a 4-star Scottish Tourist Board Tour Award and was nominated by the Sunday Times as “Top 3 nostalgic journey in the world”.
Following a major £7 million Heritage Rebuild in 2003, Waverley was fully restored to her original 1940s style.
For more information visit www.waverleyexcursions.co.uk.