The Orkney Historic Boat Society (OHBS) was launched in 2013.

Our Vision: To preserve the boating history of Orkney for future generations.

Our Mission: To preserve historic boats and related traditional boat building skills and crafts. To collect preserve and communicate knowledge relating to boats built in Orkney or having contributed significantly to Orkney life and to further the education and knowledge of the public in relation to historical Orkney Boats, including establishing a boat museum and workshop.

The society is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO) registered with the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) with Charity Number SC044884.

OSCR Logo for SC044884

This website

Here the society retains information of interest in the long term. This includes information of preserved boats and their equipment. Latest News and Event information is distributed via the society Facebook page.

The society is seeking information on potential boats for gifting towards restoration/preservation and display in the established Boat Museum. To ensure the right boats are selected for potential work and showcasing, an acquisition process has been developed. Please click on this link to download the OHBS Boat Acquisition Form. This form should be completed and then sent to the OHBS for assessment.

Get Involved
You don’t have to be an expert in research or renovation to join the Society. We welcome members who share our belief in the importance of preserving and promoting Orkney’s nautical heritage and traditions. Obviously experience in boat building or renovation would be welcome but we also need folk who are happy cleaning, painting and varnishing.

A lot can be learnt about working with wood and jobs can range from transporting water, wood, coffee and tools right up to actual renovation tasks. If you want to give it a go, contact us. You are welcome to come along for one or two sessions to see if you like it, but be warned, you might end up hooked!

There are few greater pleasures than knowing that you have contributed to the preservation of Orkney’s maritime heritage.

Join the Society
Subscription Rates and Membership Type:

Individual Membership (Annual): £15.00
Junior Membership (Annual): £2.00
Life Membership: £150

Annual Subscriptions are renewed on 6th April each year. If you would like to join please click on this link to download the OHBS Membership Application Form.

Make a donation to OHBS here.

Past OHBS Newsletters are available here.

OHBS Policy documents are available on this page.

Latest News

On Facebook

On Workgroup Activities

  • A small team of one has gone south to tow a yole back to Orkney. More information about the yole will forthcoming in the future. In the meantime other volunteers are continuing with work at the Old Herring Factory. 
  • Alongside the Orkney Men's Shed, OHBS organised an Open Day at the Old Herring Factory in Stromness today. The south isles yole Waterwitch was placed outside as the 100 year old attraction. Other boats and exhibits were displayed inside out of the wind and rain. A good turn out was achieved in the morning.
  • Prep day for Open Day tomorrow. Lots of moving, cleaning & reorganising. We put up numerous displays and pulled out a number of the boats currently in the store (all small ones because we are still waiting for the new boat door to be installed). Some time was spent fitting a vice to the new […]
  • After a bit more work on the new workbench during which we added a couple of 45 degree braces to the outside legs we set off to move a boat. Waterwitch has not seen the sun since October 2019 but as she is 100 years old in May this year (2023) we pulled her out […]