Later this month marks the 60th anniversary of the first unauthorised radio broadcast from a pirate radio ship off the coast of Essex — on 28th March 1964.

(c) Radio Caroline

Radio Caroline has had several boats over the decades, and the current home, the Ross Revenge, now owned by a charity, is still moored off the coast of Essex, and they offer occasional tours of the boat. They do tours both when it’s broadcasting and not, so you can pick which sort of visit you want, as they are quite different in what you can and can’t see.

The Ross Revenge a former North Sea factory fishing trawler used during the Anglo-Icelandic Cod War, and became the home of Radio Caroline in 1983, and although no longer a pirate radio, the ship still broadcasts regularly.

Less regularly, they take the public on board for tours – which can be booked here.

The anniversary is also an opportunity to highlight a crowdfunder campaign by the charity Ross Revenge (Home of Radio Caroline) which is raising funds to send the 64-year-old vessel for a major shipyard overhaul.

Radio Caroline broadcasts worldwide online, across England and northern Europe on 648 AM, on DAB and on Freeview Channel 277.

Getting to Radio Caroline

The ship is moored in the middle of the River Blackwater, and to get to it, there’s a pickup in a small boat from the pier at West Mersea.

To get there, you can take the Greater Anglia train to get to Colchester and then catch the 63 bus to West Mersea.

Or you could drive.


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  1. Tony H. says:

    Scary! I was twelve (and a half) when Caroline started – a whole lifetime unbelievably gone, yet I remember those pirate radio years very well. The North Sea was awash with broadcasters…

  2. Dave Ellis says:

    We did a trip out to the Ross Revenge in 2022 and it was a brilliant day out. We were given a tour of the ship and given a history of its time as a UK record breaking trawler and also as a radio station from 1983.
    The day we went out live broadcasts were being made as per every month.
    Highly recommend this exciting and interesting day out.

  3. Gerry says:

    It’s a fantastic day out, even if you’re not an anorak or never heard the offshore broadcasts.

    The presenters are all enthusiastic unpaid volunteers so nothing is dull, and several were out there during the thrills and spills on the high seas so they really know what they’re talking about.

    Brought back many happy memories: as a schoolboy I cadged a trip out to Swinging Radio England / Britain Radio. Although short lived, its brash American style and catchy jingles were long remembered.

    The monthly Caroline North broadcasts also go out on 1368kHz AM/219m MW via Manx Radio and cover much of North Wales, Ireland, SW Scotland snd NW England; their MD Chris Pearson was out on the Ross Revenge when it was an offshore pirate and he presents a live programme most Tuesdays on 648kHz/463m.

  4. Myrna Richmond says:

    I was 15 years old and listened every night at 9 pm. I was in love with the voice of the presenter. he played “Let Me Rock You with My Warm and Tender Love” every night. I so wish I could go and visit the boat but I am not well enough to go now. Like my treasured and long-gone transistor radio I guess I am well past my sell buy date lol.

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