The Vessel

We are X-Pilot, Kent’s Classic Pilot Vessel, a charter boat sailing the rivers Medway, Swale and in the Thames Estuary. The X-Pilot is a Port of London Authority licensed vessel for hire and can work in most rivers in Kent and Essex and the River Thames in Southeast England. X-Pilot’s Captain, Alan Harmer, is licensed as a Boatmaster by the Maritime Coastguard Agency. The X-Pilot is fully insured and licensed to carry twelve passengers and up to four crew.

X-Pilot is the preferred provider for The Maunsell Seaforts Appreciation Group on Facebook and we offer passenger trips to all three of the nearby Maunsell Forts. We also offer all kinds of trips and one of a kind experiences, if you’re organizing a party or anniversary, you may be a marine photographer or filming on the river and looking for that perfect charter boat, or maybe you’d like to hire the vessel just for yourself, or would just like to travel alongside Britain’s beautiful river sides and coastline and see the forts guarding the Thames, then X-Pilot is the charter vessel for you. For more details see our Sailings pages.

X-Pilot photographs courtesy of Margaret Flo McEwan, founder of The Maunsell Seaforts Appreciation Group on Facebook

The X-Pilot

X-Pilot is a 72 ton ex pilot vessel. Built in the year 1967 she worked at Gravesend along with her sister ship the River Thames, and as a pilot vessel she was expected to endure the harshest of conditions. She is 62 feet long and reliably stable.

X-Pilot now works as a charter vessel and is fully licensed by the Port of London Authority to carry twelve passengers and up to four crew. If we haven’t mentioned something you’d like to to do just give us a call or drop us an e-mail, we are open to all suggestions.

With her spacious upper and lower deck areas X-Pilot is perfect for all kinds of photography and film work. Her cabin areas are suitable for dining. She makes an ideal vessel for smaller corporate events such as days out and team building exercises.

The Captain

Captain Alan Harmer photographs courtesy of Margaret Flo McEwan, founder of The Maunsell Seaforts Appreciation Group on Facebook

Alan Harmer is X-Pilot’s experienced Captain having been a boatman for all his adult life. Cockney born and Essex bred he now moors on the River Swale at Queenborough. He’s been down this way for over twenty years so knows the Medway, Thames Estuary, Swale and the rivers of Essex like the back of his hand. He holds a Maritime and Coastguard Agency Boatmaster’s License and is a qualified first aider.

Alan was also closely associated with Project Redsand and X-Pilot was the Project's supply vessel for many years so Alan has been at the helm on more trips to the Redsand Towers, the Shivering Sands Towers and the Knock John Fort than he would care to count.

As a Boatmaster qualified by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency Alan is happy to offer instruction and coaching aboard your own vessel. Learn how to handle a larger boat and how to navigate the old fashioned way with charts, a pencil, a compass and ‘mark one eyeball’. Alan can also skipper your own vessel for delivery etc. Alan can also offer a towing service with X-Pilot and along with our tender can offer the solution to your safety boat needs.