MV Dart Explorer

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MV Dart Explorer on the overnight pontoon at Dartmouth.jpg
MV Dart Explorer on the overnight pontoon at Dartmouth.
Career (UK) Red Ensign (UK)
  • MV Devonair Belle (1991)
  • MV Dart Explorer (2001)
Owner: Dart Pleasure Craft Ltd
Route: River Dart
Launched: 1991
Status: Operating on the River Dart between Dartmouth and Totnes
General characteristics
Type: Twin-Screw Catamaran
Tonnage: 150 GRT
Length: 85 feet (26 m) LOA
Decks: 2
Propulsion: Twin Diesels
Capacity: 301 Passengers[1]

MV Devonair Belle was the original name of the MV Dart Explorer, which is a twin-screw passenger catamaran, operating on the River Dart in South Devon, UK, mainly on the circular harbour cruise route from Dartmouth, for Dart Pleasure Craft Ltd.[1] [2]


Dart Explorer is a steel-hulled catamaran. There is no passenger accommodation in the hulls. The main deck, immediately above the hulls has open passenger decks forward and aft of a large, fully enclosed and heated saloon. The upper deck, accessed by a stairway from the aft open deck, contains the wheelhouse forward, which is attached to a small passenger shelter. The remainder of the upper deck is open passenger space, and there are two slim funnels towards the stern. The saloon has fixed booth seating along each side, with a dance floor with removable chairs and tables in the center. At the aft end of the saloon is a bar, and toilets. Unlike many passenger catamarans, Dart Explorer is not a high-speed craft, instead using her wide beam for improved passenger facilities.[3]


Devonair Belle was built in 1991 for Dart Pleasure Craft Ltd, branded as 'River Link'. She was the first vessel built for the company, and was the first large passenger vessel to enter service on the Dart since the MV Cardiff Castle, which entered service in 1964 [4]. In 2001 she was renamed Dart Explorer. She is chiefly used on River Link's circular harbour cruises from Dartmouth, although she also runs on the Dartmouth to Totnes route. As Dart Explorer is the most luxurious vessel in the fleet[3] she also runs most of the evening, disco and party cruises, and is the main charter vessel for the company.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Hammar GP. Trip Out 2005/06, Self-Published, 2005
  2. Boyle, I,, Referred 2009
  3. 3.0 3.1 Dart Valley Railway plc, River Link 2000 Brochure,2000
  4. Clammer, R & Kittrage, A. Passenger Steamers of the River Dart & Kingsbridge Estuary, Twelveheads Press, 1987

External links