The Steamboat

The steamship Hydrograaf was until 1962 a hydrographic survey vessel of the Royal Navy, which conducted the measurements at the seabed. Thanks to a long track record she is preserved in original condition and is now a popular saloonboat. The ship was built in 1909-1910 by the Maatschappij voor Scheeps- en werktuigbouw Fijenoord in Rotterdam. The constructing of ship began on October 11, 1909 and launched on 26 January 1910. As was common at the time a steamer was built with two coal-fired steam engines. It has a draft of only 1.80 meters, making it perfectly capable of operating in the shallow coastal waters in Southwest Netherlands, the IJsselmeer and the Wadden Sea. On May 4, 1910 the Royal Navy Hydrograaf took service. Usually the ship did service from April to October as a survey vessel in a particular region. Outside this season and due to the weather conditions it wasnot possible to do intakes. For each season, the ship was officially in and put out of service. In the winter months the ship usually stayed in Hellevoetsluis or Willemsoord, Den Helder. The ship was not in the gray color of the navy, but had a black hull and yellow buildup. In 1921 the ship was reinforcing the same shipyard built Eilerts De Haan.De Hydrograaf was used several times as a royal yacht during visits of Queen Wilhelmina, Princess Juliana and Prince Henry toplaces in South Holland and Zeeland waters. In the stern was a cabin below deck designed for this purpose. During the royal visit to Zeeland in 1921, the royal party spent the night of 15 on September 16 aboard the ship moored in the port of Vlissingen. On March 31 and April 1, 1922 Queen Wilhelmina and Princess Juliana of Vlaardingen were brought on board Hydrograaf to Brielle (Brielle) to attend the festivities surrounding the 350th anniversary of the capture of Brielle by the Sea Beggars. Hydrograaf kept the crossings Stavenisse-Zierikzee, Zierikzee-Middelburg when the royal party visit Zeeland from 5 to August 8 1924. In May 1940 the ship went from Flushing to England. During World War II it was used as a lodging ship for minesweeping service. On September 25, 1943 the ship arrived in Harwich for use as a depot ship. After the conquest of Zeeland Flanders, the ship was put in October 1944 at the disposal of the Commander in Zeeland. It immediately went again as a survey vessel to better map the major entrance to the port of Antwerp. After the war, the ship was back in service for the Hydrographic Service. As such, it was removed from active service 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 Navy.

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