Seaplane Tender 1502

Seaplanes can fly and float – but they can't use a conventional dock because of their wings.  While the seaplane was at anchor or moored to a pontoon, a tender like 1502 would transfer crews, provisions and munitions to land.

Designed by George Selman, Naval Architect, 54 of this type were built as Mark 1’s by the British Power Boat Company between 1940 and 1943; another 27 were built to an improved specification that became known as Mark 1A.  The boats’ prime duties were as a seaplane tender, range duties and air sea rescue.

1502 served with marine units at Bridlington in Yorkshire and at Alness, Scotland during the Second World War.  Post-war she was converted to Mark 1A specifications and was deleted from the navy list in December 1955 at Calshot, almost within sight of where she had been built, at Hythe.

In August 1999 she was presented to the British Military Powerboat Trust by her owner, Dave Wight.  ST 1502 was restored at Marchwood and re-engined with two Ford Sabre diesels.  She was accepted into the care of the Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust on 25th August 2009 and is now moored alongside the Heritage Pontoon.

In 2018 she underwent a minor refit, and in recognition of the 100th anniversary of the Royal Air Force, was repainted in the colours of the RAF Air/Sea Rescue branch.

Boat Stats

Length Overall

41ft 6in


11ft 9.5in


2ft 9in


5 tons


Originally two Perkins S6M diesel engines, re-engine with two Ford Sabre diesel engines.


20 knots crusing, 24 knots max.


150 miles


Mahogany double diagonal planking, hard chine hull form.

Date Built


Boat Yard

The British Powerboat Company, Hythe, Southampton.

Supported by:

Supported by Regional Growth Fund