Swan Trust Readies Swan for the 2023 Season

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12 April 2023

A lot of work goes on year round to ensure the Swan is ready to sail, with the winter and spring a time of activity around winter maintenance, certification and readying the Swan for the next season. Here we look at just a few aspects of this work.

While most folk will only see the final flurry of activity to get the Swan ready for its new season, trustees and volunteers work year round on ensuring she is ready for passengers.

Trustee Brian Wishart explains more: “Much of the maintenance and certification work around the Swan goes in cycles. When she is derigged at the end of the season we take the sails, spars, blocks, ropes, etc back to the store where, over the winter, volunteers overhaul, sand and varnish all 50 blocks, and also oil spars and undertake sail repairs if needed. In the new year we move onto much of the paperwork required for the annual renewal of our MCA certification, which allows us to carry passengers on the Swan. This includes our annual inspection for certification. As we draw closer to the sailing season, Swan goes up onto the slip at the Malakoff’s Scalloway yard for her annual pressure wash, out of water inspection and maintenance, finishing with her annual paint job including antifouling before the relaunch. Following this, there is a flurry of work getting everything back on board and the Swan rigged again. These are all important steps, and without each we would not be able to welcome passengers aboard. We are extremely grateful to everyone who puts in their time and effort throughout the year.”

The Swan is now about to start the 2023 season, with volunteers finishing rerigging and readying the accommodation for passengers. Several days of crew training is the first task of the season afloat before the busy 2023 season starts.

2023 is shaping up to be the Swan’s busiest season yet, with trips available to the public around Shetland, as well as to Orkney, Anstruther and Den Helder in the Netherlands. The Swan will also be undertaking charters in Shetland, Orkney, Norway and Faroe as well as the Tall Ships Races, which this year will see them visit the Netherlands, Hartlepool, Norway and Lerwick.

Anyone can sail on Swan, for details of trips available to book check out our upcoming trips

If you would like to help support Swan follow these links to donate or volunteer with the Trust.


Want to get involved in maintaining and operating a traditional wooden sailing vessel? There are a number of different ways you can volunteer to safeguard, care for and sail this unique heritage asset.

Learn more

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