HMS Magpie

HMS Magpie (H130)

HMS Magpie (H130) is currently on deployment

Surveying the Harbour


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About this forum

HMS Magpie is the newest addition to the RN’s hydrographic squadron, replacing veteran survey launch HMS Gleaner.

She is named after the Duke of Edinburgh’s only command and is bigger than Gleaner.

She can stay at sea much longer (she has two messes/accommodation compartments for up to 12 crew and a galley which can meet the sailors’ needs for up to seven days), and is much more resilient in rough seas.

Magpie will also be able to launch remote-controlled underwater devices to search wide areas of seabed for obstructions or mines.

She will spend the summer scouring every inch of Portsmouth Harbour so it’s safe for HMS Queen Elizabeth to use.

Her built-in and towed sonar systems will scan every inch of the working part of the harbour to provide 3D imagery and an understanding of the seabed like never before.

Once work inside the harbour and main approaches is finished, Magpie will shift focus to the wreck site of the Mary Rose to see if there’s anything of significance left on the seabed from Henry VIII’s flagship.

And then she’ll investigate the wreck of a French galley, lost around the same time as the famous British flagship off the northeast coast of the Isle of Wight.

Facts & Figures

HMS Magpie

Facts & figures

18 Metres

Total length

37 tonnes

Total displacement



Our Operations

HMS Magpie sailing past the Spinnaker Tower

Current operation

Surveying the Harbour


Mapping the harbour floor and providing the latest data to the UK Hydrographic Office.

Our Base

HMS Magpie in Devonport

Our Base

HMNB Devonport

Plymouth PL2 2BG
Telephone: ‎+44 345 748 4950

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Commanding Officer

Lieutenant Commander H Morgan

HMS Magpie's role

The first of numerous new small craft the RN is acquiring to replacing aging work/support boats, it is HMS Magpie’s task to survey the places other parts of the RN Hydrographic Squadron cannot reach thanks to her size and shallow draft.

That chiefly means updating charts of UK ports, harbours and waterways – in the final months of her life, for example, Gleaner was used extensively to survey the exit from Rosyth… allowing Britain’s biggest warship, HMS Queen Elizabeth, to safely leave to begin her sea trials in the summer of 2017.

In addition, she acts as an extra pair of eyes in home waters for anything untoward happening.

Her built-in and towed sonar systems can scan every inch of the working part of a harbour to provide 3D imagery and an understanding of the seabed like never before.

Unit history

Royal Navy careers

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@PorthcawlNCI An interesting connection indeed. We may well be spending some time on the Welsh coast next year so w…