Saturn Fly-boat

Waterways Heritage Afloat

The Saturn Project

The Shropshire Union Fly-boat Restoration Society Ltd - a voluntary charitable group – was set up to preserve one of the two remaining Shropshire Union Canal fly-boats in the World; rare examples of some of the finest boats to grace Britain’s waterways. Symbol was acquired but became too decayed to restore – although parts of her are preserved. Saturn – the last one – became available and was purchased by British Waterways Wales & Border Counties Waterways. A partnership – The Saturn Project – was set up with the society to restore and operate the boat.

Over four years and at a cost of £87,000, Saturn was professionally restored by Malkins Bank Canal Services, with assistance from society members. This was enabled by a fund-raising campaign with major contributions by British Waterways Wales & Border Counties Waterways, Heritage Lottery Fund, Waste Recycling Environmental (WREN), the Shropshire Union Canal Society, The Waterways Trust and The Manifold Trust; plus other donations of money and materials from society members, other individuals and companies. 

Relaunched in 2005 – and celebrating her 100th birthday in 2006 - Saturn is now the superb example of a fully operational fly-boat; travelling the waterways and fulfilling the partnership’s aims to educate future generations about the history of narrowboats, horse-boating and our waterway network. The combination of boat, crew and horse – and all the techniques and skills evolved over 250 years – demonstrates a unique unit of transport that served Britain from the 18th into the 20th Century. This boat and these traditional skills must be preserved for the future.

Other Associated Societies

The Waterways Museum Society has the principal aim of the preservation of the historic boats, skills, knowledge and way of life of the waterways.