Until 1962, the steamship Hydrograaf was a hydrographic survey vessel of the Royal Netherlands Navy, which carried out measurements on the seabed. Thanks to its long track record it has been preserved in its authentic condition and is now a popular saloon boat.

The ship was built in 1909-1910 by the Fijenoord Ship and Mechanical Engineering Company in Rotterdam. The ship was put into pile on October 11, 1909 and launched on January 26, 1910. As usual at the time, it was a steamboat with two coal-fired steam engines. It had a draft of only 1.80 meters, making it extremely capable of operating in the shallow coastal waters in the southwest of the Netherlands, the South Sea and the Waddenzee. On May 4, 1910, the Royal Navy took the Hydrograph into service. Usually the ship served as a survey vessel in a specific region from April to October. Outside this period it was not possible to work due to the weather. The ship was officially put in and out of service for each season. In the winter months the ship usually stayed in Hellevoetsluis or in Willemsoord, Den Helder. The ship did not sail in the gray colors of the navy, but had a black hull and yellow superstructure. In 1921 the ship was reinforced by the 'Eilerts de Haan', built on the same shipyard.

The Hydrograph was used several times as a royal yacht during visits by Queen Wilhelmina, Prince Hendrik and Princess Juliana to places in the South Holland and Zeeland waters. In May 1940 the ship moved from Vlissingen to England. During the Second World War it was used as a lodging ship for the mine sweeping service. On September 25, 1943 the ship arrived in Harwich for use as a depot ship. After the conquest of Zeelandic Flanders, the ship was made available to the Commander in Zeeland in October 1944. It immediately served as a survey vessel again to better map the important access to the port of Antwerp. After the war the ship was put back into service for the Hydrographic Service. As such, it was removed by the Royal Navy on October 16, 1962 and replaced by the modern survey vessel 'Zeefakkel'. It was the last coal-fired steamship of the Royal Netherlands Navy.

Rederij De Hydrograaf B.V.
Ray Davis
The Netherlands
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