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Fleet tenders have made some fine diving liveaboards over the years – think MV Valhalla in the Orkneys, and DSV Loyal Watcher and Hambledon in Cornwall – and now you could be the new owner of your very own dive vessel.

RV Loyal Helper is up for sale through Seakers Yacht Brokers, yours for the princely sum of £280,000. Built in 1978 at Thorne by Richard Dunston's shipyard, she is a helper-class fleet tender whose life started in the Royal Naval Auxiliary Service. Ruggedly constructed at 24 metres long and displacing 141 tons, she is described as ‘a very seaworthy and spacious vessel sitting flat on her anchors while other boats are thrown around at sea'.

The vessel is licensed to and can accommodate up to 12 passengers plus four crew comfortably, so is perfect liveaboard material.

Access stairs to the lower decks of liveaboard
Access stairs to the lower decks

Loyal Helper has ample deck space for a liveaboard, the front deck has enough room to store various equipment and a bench to seat up to 12 divers comfortably as well as housing the deck crane, hydraulic line hauler, anchor winches and access hatches to storage holds. There are also access gates for divers to enter and exit the water via a ladder and a platform.

The upper deck and sun deck are accessed through the wheel house, benches and tables are situated on the sun deck and plenty of room is available for surveyors and spectators as well as barbecues and buffets.

The wheel house of the Loyal Helper has all of the latest navigation equipment including VHF radios, EPIRB, Radar, Depth Sounder, Colour Chart plotter, Navtex and Weatherfax.

Well-equipped wheelhouse on liveaboard
Well-equipped wheelhouse

The galley and adjacent mess room can cater and seat all passengers for meals. The mess also serves as a work room perfect for drawing up plans and collating research. For relaxing there is a large saloon equipped with digital television and stereo systems. The area can be kept warm with its wood burner and electronics can be charged from the ample plug sockets available.

Below decks accessed via the saloon there are berths for 12 liveaboard passengers plus crew. The passenger accommodation is separated into bunk cabins, and also includes the forward cabin for crew, seating areas, storage, two wash basins and a mini bar.

The engine room contains a Mirlees Blackstone 330hp engine which can produce a maximum speed of 10.5knots, cruising at 10 knots.

The sale also includes a RIB with 20hp engine.

The engine room on the RV Loyal Helper
The engine room on the RV Loyal Helper
Mark Evans
Mark Evans
Scuba Diver's Editor-in-Chief Mark Evans has been in the diving industry for nearly 25 years, and has been diving since he was just 12 years old. 30-odd years later and he is still addicted to the underwater world.
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