The Beatrice is 17 metres (56 feet) long, with toilets equipped for those with disabilities and a large foredeck which is easily accessible, being flush with the canal bank - an electric lift takes those in wheelchairs, or who cannot manage the steps, down to the airy, large-windowed cabin. It can accommodate 12 passengers on each trip (three of whom may be in wheel chairs), including those supporting people with disabilities. Please note that large powered wheelchairs can not get into the cabin.
The crew, a qualified skipper assisted by a trained volunteer, is responsible for the effective and safe running of the boat, but we are also happy to involve passengers in the working of the locks (of which there are at least 6 on each trip). Groups are responsible for the care of their own members and for providing refreshments – there is a small galley with a kettle, a fridge and a microwave.
The first Beatrice was built at Cammel Laird Shipyard on the Wirral – a committee was formed to raise funds for the materials and the work was undertaken by apprentices at the yard. Beatrice was launched by Princess Anne (later styled the Princess Royal) and served the Charity well until it was retired in 1998: Beatrice was replaced by the Lady B, kindly built by JCB Ltd. To this was added (1999) the current Beatrice, first used as a holiday boat for families with children with diabilities. It was then converted to the present day-trip boat, being reduced in length from 70’ to a 56’ which is much more suited to the narrow and winding Caldon Canal.