Compass Boat K3

K3 is a Compass boat: a traditional net fishing boat of the type used extensively on the Cleddau from the late 19th century until the mid 20th century to catch salmon and sewin.

She was donated by Ken Morgan of Llangwm - we patched its holes with builder’s foam to make her buoyant, so as to get her across Johnson Pill to our slipway.

Boats were usually around fourteen feet long and built of larch or elm on oak frames. Pitch pine was sometimes used for the stem and transom; with many of the fishermen having close association with Pembroke Dockyard, this proved a valuable source of timber! Their carvel-planked hulls were usually caulked with oakum and sealed with molten pitch.

No two boats were identical, there being no template – just the expert eye of the boatwright.

Compass boats were ubiquitous in the upper reaches of the Cleddau, especially around Llangwm and Hook, where the shape of the river was ideal for salmon fishing. The boat would be ‘anchored’ across the flow and the fish trapped in the net. The museum has an excellent model illustrating the technique. 

The links here to local historical websites have much more detail about these boats & the fishing: