The Fleet Explorer © Angela Thomas

The Fleet Explorer © Angela Thomas


Hare © Angela Thomas

Hare © Angela Thomas

It will be all hands on deck this Easter as Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT) get underway with their new venture, the Fleet Explorer. DWT has recently taken over the management and running of the boat, previously the Fleet Observer, as a natural extension to the Fine Foundation Chesil Beach Centre.

The shallow drafted, flat bottom vessel is perfectly designed for exploring the Fleet Lagoon, one of the UK’s most important Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), which supports over 150 species of seaweed, 25 species of fish and 60 species of mollusc, as well as providing food and sanctuary for many important bird species.

Marc Smith, Chesil Beach Centre manager said: “We are very excited to take over the running of the Fleet Explorer. It has always been a big draw for wildlife enthusiasts, photographers, tourists and families alike. You get some great views of seabirds, hear fascinating stories from the skippers, find out about the marine life and might even get to see the Chesil Beach hares.”

The boat has been operating on the Fleet since 1994, when it was set up and run by local angler, fisherman and marine engineer, Bill Noble. It was later taken over by the Chesil Bank and Fleet Nature Reserve who have now passed the baton to Dorset Wildlife Trust.

Marc added “The boat has a rich history and we look forward to carrying this on. The boat will be operating as normal, with trips running Easter to September. We will also be putting on some special events, including Protected Seas, Smugglers on the Lagoon, World Oceans Day and Sundown cruises. The Fleet Explorer will also be available to charter for groups, schools, birthdays and special occasions.”

Dorset Wildlife Trust is looking for help from individuals or businesses to support the boat with maintenance and expertise. There is also a great opportunity for a new skipper to join the team, someone with a commercial endorsement or with at least three years’ experience operating powerboat RYA Level 2.

To book a trip on the Fleet Explorer or to see how you can get involved phone 01305 206191. For events listings visit




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