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Marine / Full survey planned as Pilot Us set to be moved indoors

Pilot Us at Hay's Dock. Photo: Jim Mullay

THE HISTORIC Pilot Us fishing boat is set to be taken indoors – with hopes to carry out a 3D scan and full survey of the vessel.

A public meeting was held at the Shetland Museum on Monday evening to allow people to have their say on the near-100 year old boat.

Like the museum collection, she is owned by Shetland Islands Council, but is kept under the care of the Amenity Trust.

One takeaway message from the meeting was that there are no plans to scrap the boat, which is kept on the water at Hay’s Dock in Lerwick and has seen its condition deteriorate.

The trust’s cultural heritage manager Jacqui Birnie said the best way to preserve her would be to take her out of the water and dry her out slowly.

There is hope to explore bringing in funding to carry out restoration work, and a 3D scan and a full survey is planned to inform what work would be required.

Birnie reiterated that the trust does not want to make any “false promises” regarding the long-term future, but it is hopeful it can “do something to keep her”.

Birnie acknowledged that some mistakes have been in made in the past regarding the upkeep of the boat.

“It’s not ideal for her to be sitting as she is just now,” she said. “It’s really important for us to not let that deterioration continue.”

A previous image of Pilot Us out at sea.

Birnie said Pilot Us is a “really important” part of the whitefish history for Shetland.

Owned by the Watt family for over 50 years, Birnie added that “she has a very important story to tell that’s over and above the vessel”.

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She said Pilot Us was one of the last boats of her kind to still have been operational at the time when she came into the museum collection.

Birnie said the trust is listening to advice from those in the know – with some people at Monday’s meeting offering their help.

“We’re committed to working with people who know the boat and its history, and can give us really valuable advice on the steps we need to take,” she said.

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