Waverley is officially the world’s last sea-going paddler and has been owned by and operated on behalf of the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society, a charitable organisation, since 1975 after a massive effort to save her from the breakers forefronted by PSPS members Terry Sylvester and Douglas McGowan. She is the last operational example of the famous “Clyde Steamers” and the last paddler of a long line of vessels stretching back to the Comet of 1812.
Withdrawn as uneconomic by her owners, the PSPS enthusiasts soon established an increasingly skilled and professional organisation to operate and market Waverley. Although she continues to receive financial support from enthusiasts, Waverley has shown that it is still possible to operate a traditional paddle steamer in the U.K. In the winter of 1999/2000 she started a two-stage rebuild to ensure that she could sail economically and safely into the future. The rebuild was completed in 2003.
Built for the sheltered waters of the Craigendoran-Arrochar route on the Firth of Clyde, it became clear to her preservationist operators that she would only be viable through extending her season and sailing from other points around the British coastline. She now cruises the Clyde in high season, but regularly visits the Bristol Channel, Solent and Thames plus other locations in spring and autumn. In high season she sails from the Science Centre, on the south bank of the Clyde, slightly to the west of Glasgow city centre (but from Ayr on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, Greenock on Thursdays).