The Derby River Boat will be launched on the river Derwent in spring 2020 by the Derby and Sandiacre Canal Trust. After the launch, the river boat service will run each year between Spring and Autumn taking 12 passengers at a time on regular trips up and down the river.

Passengers will board the boat at Exeter Bridge before setting off on a 45 minute return trip up the river to Darley Abbey. An electric lift will allow passengers in wheel chairs to use the boat. Initially there will only be one boarding / disembarking point but this could be expanded in subsequent years.

Customers using the boat will be able to listen to an audio commentary on the way up the river which is crammed with facts about Derby’s fascinating history and it’s exciting plans for the future. There will be on board refreshments and educational entertainment for children of all ages.

Over a years worth of design work has gone into the boat and great attention has been made to making the boat as environmentally friendly as possible. The boat’s propulsion system is fully electric with the batteries being partially charged using on board solar panels. The Trust hopes that this will inspire local people to adopt electric vehicles and encourage local boat owners to convert to zero emission propulsion.

The Derby and Sandiacre Canal Trust aim to improve the customer offering year after year adding new features each season. In year 2 or 3 the Trust would like to install a river lock into the weir outside the council house, this will allow boats to travel between the city centre and Pride Park.

Construction of the boat started in mid October 2019 starting with the new formation of the metal hull. The fitting out operation will take place from December onwards during which time the Trust will be on the look out for  more volunteers to join the crew. If you are interested in being part of this project please get in touch via

The following two images show the current status of the River Boat hull (it’s early days) and an artist’s impression of the River Boat (altered with permission from Grantham Canal Society).

Finally, please enjoy the launch video below: