HMS Gleaner (H86)

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HMS Gleaner (H86) in the Solent.jpg
HMSML Gleaner in the Solent, 2013
United Kingdom
Name: Her Majesty's Survey Motor Launch 'Gleaner
Operator: Royal Navy
Builder: Emsworth
Launched: 18 October 1983
Sponsored by: Mrs. M. Read
Commissioned: 5 December 1983
Homeport: HMNB Devonport, Plymouth
  • Fruges consumere nati
  • Latin: "Born to reap its reward"
Status: in active service
Badge: HMSML Gleaner crest.jpg
General characteristics
Displacement: 22 tonnes
Length: 14.8 m
Beam: 4.7 m
Draught: 1.6 m
Propulsion: 2 × Volvo Penta TAMD 122 P-A diesel engines
Speed: 14 knots (16.1 mph; 25.9 km/h)
Complement: 9
Crew: 2 Officers, 1 Senior Rate, 6 Junior Rates
Notes: She uses multibeam and sidescan sonar to collect accurate data about the texture of the seabed. She is used in the shallowest of inshore waters.

HMSML Gleaner (H86) is the smallest commissioned vessel in the Royal Navy with a length of just under 15 metres and a ship's company of just nine (two officers, one Senior Rating and six Junior Ratings). She is currently based in Devonport, Plymouth. The ship prefix "HMSML" stands for Her Majesty's Survey Motor Launch.[1]

Its cost of maintenance has increased across fiscal years 2010-2014.[2]

According to a parliamentary written reply and Freedom of Information answer, Gleaner will be withdrawn from service in 2018.[3][4] A replacement vessel, HMS Magpie, will be in service in May 2018.[5]


She is the sixth ship to bear the name Gleaner and was commissioned on 5 December 1983. With a top speed of 14 knots (26 km/h; 16 mph), Gleaner was designed to conduct inshore surveys along the south coast of England, though she has since surveyed all around the coastline of Great Britain and visited various ports in Europe.

As an advanced survey vessel, Gleaner possesses an array of sophisticated technology, including multibeam and sidescan sonar to collect bathymetry and seabed texture data and compile an accurate and detailed picture of the seabed for later analysis. Her survey equipment also includes an Applanix POS MV system for georeferencing and motion compensation, C-NAV GPS, Kongsberg EM2040 Multibeam Echo Sounder and Kongsberg EA400 Singlebeam Echo Sounder.

Gleaner also has the unique distinction of being one of a handful of Royal Navy ships to have visited landlocked Switzerland, having travelled up the Rhine to Basle in 1988. Earlier visits were by HMS Flintham and Dittisham in 1969, and HMS Sabre and Cutlass in 1979.[6][7]

She was also in attendance at the 2010 Portsmouth Navy Days.[8][9]

In 2016, Gleaner conducted an extensive survey of the Firth of Forth as part of the preparation work for the departure of HMS Queen Elizabeth in the spring of 2017. This work was necessary as the most recent survey was 60 years old.[10]

Gleaner was due to be decommissioned in December 2017. Her replacement will come from one of the planned fleet of 38 workboats ordered in August 2017.[11] Gleaner entered Plymouth for the last time before being decommissioned on 31 January 2018, with the ship's replacement due later the same year.[12]


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