The Original & NO.1

noss boat tours Est. 1992

Welcome Aboard
The Noss Boat

Experience Spectacular Wildlife On Our 5-Star Award Winning NOSS BOAT TOURS
Around Bressay & Noss National Nature Reserve

Double Win 2023
Highlands & Islands
Thistle Awards
'Best Visitor Attraction' & 'Inclusive Tourism'

 

     

Join Marie, Brian or Marvyn…all Shetland born & bred onboard The Noss Boat ‘Seabird’.  We are Shetland’s Supreme NO.1 boat tour/wildlife experience as ranked on TripAdvisor and awarded Visit Scotland’s prestigious 5-Star accolade which reflects an exceptional standard and the highest grading you can achieve.  We are all highly experienced and knowledgeable about the local area, with a lifetime experience of boats, the sea, nature and our local heritage around us.  All our tours offer refreshments and are very family friendly, we provide fun, engaging ‘Live’ commentary throughout to suit all ages/interests Plus activities for our younger sailors.  Travel in great comfort and style for the highlight of your holiday on our spacious twin engine catamaran which is also wheechair accessible and a very stable boat because it has twin hulls PLUS the added feature of a huge viewing platform to allow you to move around freely…ideal for the best photography opportunities.  

On this amazing wildlife spectacular you get to enjoy Shetland’s abundant wildlife, guaranteeing close up views of Noss National Nature Reserve, one of Britain’s most sensational reserves.  

We have many excellent reviews which can be read here.  Further below you can read Testimonials from local organisations and wildlife/tour companies that we work in collaboration with worldwide.  These include Wildlife Cameraman/TV Presenter…Simon King who is famous for his ‘Shetland Diaries’ series.  

If you are looking for a fun varied informative excursion with enthusiasts passionate about our local wildlife, heritage, geology, history and much more…our Supreme tours tick all the boxes.   With every trip being unique and special, come find out why we are consistently ranked #NO.1 and make ever lasting memories. 

2024 Travel & Hospitality
Award Winners
‘Boat Tour Of The Year – Scotland’

 

 

  

        

Our Tours

  • From April through to October: On our ‘Book Now” page (link top right) you will find our online booking calendar, which displays all our daily tour start times, weather permitting we operate seven days a week.  Our 5-Star tours are a full  TWO HOURS PLUS with refreshments provided in a tranquil little bay at Noss.  Twice weekly on selected days, we provide an early morning photography tour to capture the sunrise morning light.  Our tours at £60 for adults & £30 for under 16’s are priced to be as low and inclusive as possible, we believe this offers incredible value for money.  All tours depart from Victoria Pier Lerwick, ZE1 0EL.  You can find out more about our tours by clicking on ‘Our Tours’ link further below.  You can book/pay online using our easy-to-use online booking system or contact us and we will get you booked on.  
  • Safety at the heart of what we do: In the interest of passenger safety, comfort, and welfare, we always sail with a minimum of two crew.  This gives you a richer experience and to make sure you have an unforgettable tour.  Our dedicated guides ensure you are having a great time all of the time.  We can take up to 12 passengers on each tour.
  • Awe-inspiring sights & sounds: Get up close & personal to this extraordinary seabird metropolis, home to 25,000 Northern Gannets and thousands of other seabirds towering the sandstone cliffs of Noss. Superb opportunities to see and photograph Shetland’s wildlife against the stunning backdrop of the 181-metre-high Noss cliffs. 
  • Amazing gannet diving experience: We bring along fresh fish to give you the opportunity to see gannets encircling & diving right alongside the boat, always a great highlight on our Noss Boat Tours.
  • Local Knowledge by expert local guides: We provide an extremely varied tour with fun and engaging ‘live’ commentary to suit all interests/ages.  Individual headsets are provided for each passenger so you can hear your guide(s) fully at all times throughout the tour and binoculars provided for each passenger.  We share local stories as well as our in-depth knowledge on the wildlife, local history, geology and folklore that surrounds Lerwick’s harbour and as we navigate around Bressay & Noss.  Close seabird and seal encounters, breathtaking scenery, stunning rock formations, geos, iconic landmarks and eye catching geology…such as the lighthouse arch, Orkneyman’s Cave and the striking Giant’s leg archway.  We spend quality time at all the wildlife and scenic hotspots, each offering the most fabulous photography opportunities on a spacious stable boat.  
  • Refreshments, equipment & something for all the family: We anchor in a tranquil little bay to enjoy hot or cold drinks and a selection of biscuits…always a great highlight with plenty more wildlife/  photography opportunities.  We provide customized identification charts which are available in braille format also.  We have various charging ports throughout the cabin should your batteries need recharging.  Whether your are a professional photographer, independent traveller or travelling as a family and looking for a fun memorable Shetland experience…then come join us.  Our tours are very family friendly with onboard activities to keep young sailors entertained. Each get a FREE Eco-Friendly sealife activity pack.  Adults receive 20% discount voucher to use at a choice of two local business establishments.  We have our Seabirds-and-Seals Eco-Friendly merchandise available for sale onboard and also on our online shop.   
  • TripAdvisor NO.1 Choice: We are consistently ranked Shetland’s #NO.1 Boat/Wildlife Tour on TripAdvisor with many excellent ratings and come highly recommended.  Our tours offer by far the best value, boat, crew and experience due to all our onboard facilities/services.  
  • Will We See Cetaceans? Not guaranteed on our tours, but if it does happen it’s a most spectacular experience.  If really lucky…we may see porpoises, the occasional whale or dolphin. With  sharp eyes of two dedicated and enthusiast crew on every tour, we are always on lookout and you could be on no better boat with its huge viewing platform.  As a business with 32 years of experience, we continue to lead the way for responsible boat-based ecotourism.  At all times we follow the Nature Scot Marine Wildlife watching code and we are also WiSe accredited operators, proudly adhering to strict protocols to minimize disturbance to marine wildlife.   
  • Underwater Viewing Spectacle: If sea conditions prevent us getting out to Noss, we are sometimes available for trips to look at the wildlife so prevalent in or near Lerwick Harbour…only if sheltered conditions allows.  We can then launch our ROV mini submarine and show you a variety of sealife below whilst enjoying a refreshment.  
  • Well-Established & Longest Running: Thirty two (32) years on, Seabirds-and-Seals remains the original and longest established Noss Boat Tour Business, entertaining visitors and locals alike. This award-winning enterprise was founded in 1992 by Naturalist Dr Jonathan Wills.  Skipper Brian has been actively involved with the business ever since it began and in 2017, along with his wife Marie, they bought the business from Jonathan, maintaining the business ethos and reputation as The Original – and Number One Noss Boat Tour Business.  All these years later, we’re still sailing under Jonathan’s originally created brand ‘The Noss Boat’.  As with any business takeover – a new series of TripAdvisor and Google reviews started in our first season (2018), all continue to be extremely positive and show how popular our tours are. 
  • Award-Winning Tour Operator: Our Noss boat tours have received Visit Scotland’s Prestigious 5-Star award, which is the highest you can achieve and the only Shetland boat tour to have this grading.  In November 2023 we WON not one but TWO awards in the Highlands and Islands Thistle Awards under two amazing categories.  We won ‘Best Visitor Attraction’ and ‘Inclusive Tourism’ – we are the 1st boat tour operator in Shetland to win in the Inclusive Tourism Category.  It is an honour to be recognised by these prestigious awards, known as ‘Scotland’s tourism industry’s Oscars’.  In October 2023 we were selected as Finalists at ‘The Herald Scottish Family Business Awards.  Over the years we have won major recognition at the Scottish Enterprise and UK Enterprise Awards and again in 2023 we were awarded ‘Wildlife Tour Operator of the Year ’ and ‘Best Wildlife & Photography Boat Tour – Scotland’.  Early 2023 we were delighted to achieve a ‘Green Tourism Silver Award’.  Being Green Tourism Accredited shows that we are eco-friendly and committed to working responsibly, ethically and sustainably.   Every year since taking over the business, we have won TripAdvisor’s Excellence and Travellers’ Choice Awards due to our consistent excellent reviews.  
  • Holiday Highlight: A trip aboard The Noss Boat ‘Seabird’ is a highlight for many as shown in our many fantastic reviews and from the number of awards won.  We provide a very high standard of customer care and welcome any questions you may have.    

The Noss Boat
'SEABIRD'

Margaret Clarke - Seabird in Cave
S-A-S Viewing Platform - Malcolm Younger
  • Panoramic Viewing & great comfort: Our 13.5m spacious catamaran sports twin 370hp engines – a very stable craft because it has twin hulls.  This allows for a very comfortable journey whether you want to move around on deck or prefer the shelter of our cabin – it’s up to you! We are without a doubt the photographer’s choice due to the extremely spacious viewing platform which is all on one level as shown on our homepage video and photos.  This allows you to enjoy fabulous 360° panoramic viewing without having to watch where you step and ideal for the best photographic opportunities. 
  • Seating provided for all Outside & Inside: We are licensed to take 12 passengers with lifejackets made available upon embarkation for all ages. There’s ample room on deck for all to sit, stand or move around freely, without being restricted or confined to your seat or the one space…free as a bird. We also have seating for all inside our heated cabin.  
  • Toilet on deck level: All our tours are a full two hours plus, so you can be rest assured that we do have a toilet onboard which comes well equipped with hand sanitizer and hygiene bags, etc.  
  • Wheelchair Accessible: Seabird is wheelchair accessible onto the boat and ideal boat for anyone with mobility impairment. We partner with local organisation Ability Shetland, and can organize on your behalf for a wheelchair or any other support aid to make your trip with us aboard as comfortable as possible. You can read our full accessibility guide here
  • Accessible & Inclusive: We strongly believe that having improved accessibility appeals to a wide range of visitors and we want to make your tour a holiday highlight by making it accessible and enjoyable throughout.  By listening to our customers and having more awareness about the inclusive tourism market, we have worked hard and implemented changes to make our tours open and enjoyable for all. You can find out more by reading our accessibility & inclusive tourism section here
  • Protected from the elements: A top cover exists at back of the wheelhouse, above seating area, which leaves rest of the huge platform clear for viewing and photography. If the weather is misbehaving, you have the added bonus to step inside our heated cabin, where you can enjoy unrestricted views from inside. Enjoy a chat around the table and browse our small but fascinating on-board library. USB charging points are available should you wish to recharge your phone or batteries.
  • NO.1 Boat Of Choice For Your Shetland Highlight: Whether you are visiting with friends or family, a solo traveler, looking to organize a bespoke experience for a tour group or professional film crew, Seabird is the ideal boat for anyone wishing to experience great comfort for the highlight of your Shetland trip.  With Seabird’s  huge viewing platform, and ability to move around freely, we are the NO.1 choice and have been used by many film crews, including ‘Simon King Wildlife’.

Meet
The Noss Boat Crew
Local Family Run Business

Brian & Marie Leask

We are a ‘Natural’ born and bred Shetland couple…

We make a fabulous team with so much to share, both very passionate about all aspects of our business and we provide a very high standard of customer care.  Our continuing success, is reflected in our many fabulous TripAdvisor & Google Reviews, complementing each other’s experience, skills and talents, from start to finish…showing you the best of Lerwick’s beautiful harbour, Bressay & Noss.  

We both have extensive seafaring experience…in 2005 we sailed our own 52ft yacht from Shetland to the Mediterranean and back again.  Brian being a qualified Marine Engineer, has spent his life around boats, he has a wealth of knowledge about our local waters, which can only be gained through a lifetime’s experience and makes him a very safe and most dependable tour skipper.  With his qualifications, experience and masterful boatmanship, Brian is in perfect place at the helm. 

As well as Brian having all the necessary skipper qualifications/licenses, we both have certified training on ‘Sea Survival Skills’ as well as Elementary First Aid At Sea.  Marie has disability awareness training through her various care working roles outwith our busy season and also has certified training for ‘Disability inclusion in Hospitality, Travel & Tourism’ – respecting inclusion for everyone.  Marie has also completed Climate Emergency Training For Tourism as well as completing destination development and leadership programme through Edinburgh Napier University.  

We were delighted to be the first boat tour business in Shetland to receive the ‘Inclusive Tourism’ award at The Highlands & Islands Thistle Awards. We were also delighted to receive a Green Tourism Silver award at the same time as other local businesses.  Great to see all our hard work, dedication, passion and commitment shine through to make us the popular attraction we are today.  We will continue building on our strengths and look forward to many more years to come.

Ever since the award-winning business started 32 years ago, it has built up a very good reputation as a top wildlife tour with many very knowledgeable crew.  We are delighted to keep on many of the same relief crew that Jonathan had, with three new additions, our newest being Marvyn Johnson our highly experience relief skipper.  You can find out more about ‘The Noss Boat’ team by clicking on ‘View All Crew’ link below.   

As well as our independent travellers to Shetland, we work in collaboration with many businesses & partners, providing our services to a vast majority of wildlife tour companies, tour groups and film crews  from all over the globe. This ranges from Naturetrek Wildlife Holidays, Simon King Wildlife, Guide Trek Alps and many others.  We have also been delighted to have the presence of Nigel Marven onboard, he is a British wildlife TV presenter, naturalist, conservationist author and television producer.  We also work in collaboration with local wildlife groups and organisations.  Our thousands of independent travellers and collaborating businesses/partners have helped shape us to be Shetland’s NO.1 boat tour/wildlife attraction.  

Our customer feedback and experience is most important to us – we welcome any questions and would appreciate if you could please leave us a review following your tour with us – Thank You.

  • View All Crew
  • Testimonials

    Avtar

    "The seabird cliffs of Noss rank as one of the most stunning wildlife spectacles in Britain and Ireland, and there is no better way to witness their splendour than with Marie and Brian on The Seabird. Brian will get you into the best possible position for the finest views whilst always respecting the wildlife you are watching and Marie will regale you with fascinating facts about the wildlife, geology and Island history, punctuated with the beauty of the Shetland dialect. The boat is ideal for observation and photography, with a spacious rear deck that allows standing room for all, but compact enough to venture into some of the caves around the island on calmer days. Even life beneath the waves will be brought into the comfort of the cabin via the ROV – a remotely operated submersible with a camera sending live images to screens at the surface. All that, plus a fine cuppa and a biscuit – a first class experience in every way!"

    Simon King –
    Simon King Widlife –
    British Naturalist, Author, Conservationist, Television Presenter & Cameraman
    Avtar

    "If you want a magical journey take a cruise with Seabirds-and-Seals! An expert skipper and knowledgeable guides will get you close to seabird cities, plunge diving gannets and great skuas. You should have a close approach from confiding seals and lay eyes on the house of Jimmy Perez, Shetlands iconic TV detective! I’ll never forget my adventure with Marie and Marvyn"

    Nigel Marven –
    Nigel Marven Productions -
    British Wildlife TV Presenter, Naturalist, Conservationist, Author & Television Producer.
    Avtar

    "I have known this company since the first time I came to Shetland. I started with Jonathan Wills, now Marie and Brian continue this work with great professionalism and passion. I am an Italian guide who has been organizing trips to Shetland with Italian groups for 15 years. The Noss tour with Seabirds-and-Seals is an event that cannot be missed. It is an integral and fundamental part of the entire journey. I have always worked very well with Marie and Brian, and they have always been available to help me to find the best solution even when the sea told us no. They are two very special people…first of all ‘Good’, then they are excellent professionals who know how to put customers at ease and know how to make you experience the unique magic of Noss and Bressay. I will return every year, hopefully for a long time, waiting to say hello to my adventure friends and have the best tea with biscuits in the world in some cove in Noss or Bressay".

    Davide D'Acunto -
    Tour Leader -
    Guide Trek Alps Italy
    Avtar

    "As a long-time nature tour leader, I am always delighted to find partners to work with who provide the very best experiences for my clients. The seabird cliffs of Noss are one of the most spectacular sights on the planet and Seabirds and Seals provides the very best viewing of that spectacle. Marie and Brian were fantastic to work with; from the initial booking, to the day-of-details. Their knowledge of, and passion for the seabirds and other wildlife of Shetland is evident every step of the way. My group of American visitors were in awe. Brian’s boat skills allowed for breathtaking photo opportunities and jaw-dropping views. Marie’s narration gave them a broad understanding of the lives of these birds and the history of the island. The Gannet feeding at the end was the perfect conclusion to a memorable trip. I will be back in Shetland with another group soon and the first planning email will be to Seabirds and Seals to make sure we schedule our trip to Noss. . . . THANK YOU!”

    Iain MacLeod
    Nature Tour Leader -
    Squam Lakes Natural Science Center,
    Holderness, New Hampshire, USA.
    Avtar

    "Shetland Seabirds and Seals are advocates for breaking down barriers and promoting inclusivity, offering popular boat trips which are accessible for wheelchair users and those with limited mobility. The staff team are flexible and always willing to look for solutions to make their trips as comfortable as possible. The seabird colonies that live at the back of Noss are incredible, and opening up the opportunity of experiencing one of these trips to as many as possible is amazing".

    Megan Keppie -
    Sports Development Support Worker -
    Ability Shetland
    Avtar

    Every year volunteers and service users enjoy a couple of trips off with Brian and Marie on a tour of Noss seeing the spectacular birdlife which is enjoyed by all. They provide us with a first class service that accommodates all abilities. This is one of the most popular group activities that we offer and will continue to do so weather permitting!! “The best thing about memories is making them” .

    Mairi Jamieson -
    Project Co-ordinator Shetland Befriending Scheme
    Avtar

    "Seabirds and Seals are part of the Respitality Scheme here at Shetland Carers. This means that each year they kindly donate several boat trips to the Scheme, which can be awarded to carers who are registered with us, to allow them to take a short break from their caring role. The carers who have experienced a trip with them have absolutely loved the experience! Not only are Marie and Brian extremely knowledgeable about what they do, but they are welcoming and friendly to all their passengers and ensure that everyone is having a wonderful time. As their boat is wheelchair accessible, it ensures that they are inclusive for all - and it’s a wonderful gesture for Marie and Brian to recognise the important role which carers play, and to give something back to the community by donating these trips. They have previously welcomed a family of carers, along with their cared for person, to go out together for a trip with them, which enabled everyone to share in the experience together and make some new memories. Thank you for all that you do".

    Amanda Brown –
    Support Worker -
    Shetland Carers
    Avtar

    "We just had a lovely time aboard Seabirds and Seals, we would like to thank you so much for this break! What a brilliant trip around Noss, and we even saw a Minke whale! Just fabulous! Thank you so much!" “Thank you! With this break, we bonded and relaxed together. Cherished memories!” Quoted by a family and their cared for one who joined us in 2023 as part of Shetland Carers Respitality Scheme".

    Local Family -
    Participated In Shetland Carers 'Respitality Scheme'
    Avtar

    “The SeaBirds + Seals Boat Tour was a Respitality treat beyond words. Such a warm welcome and in depth understanding of the wildlife as well as the local history – what a refreshing and revitalising trip and experience. This experience is definitely family friendly and with discrete additional support where needed. I was impressed with their attention to detail from the commentary via headphone if wished and the lovely stop over for cuppa and biscuits in the calm bay. There was even a surprise birthday cake ! Definitely a relaxing and highly enjoyable experience for us both ” .

    Local Family -
    Participated In Shetland Carers 'Respitality Scheme'
    Avtar

    The BEST visitor experience – We were a group of locals (family visiting from the mainland) and we really did have the best day. From start to finish was a please to be onboard. Marie, Brian and Crew were so knowledgeable and very kind to our younger members of family. We did this trip last Summer and everyone still speaks about how good it was and asking when we can go again! This trip was a reminder of just how stunning Shetland is and made us all appreciate what is on our doorstep. It also made me proud to showcase to family this brilliant tour business.

    Locals - Halcrow/Shaw Family –
    Cunningsburgh Shetland

    Book Now Online

    You can check availability and book online very easily with The Noss Boat using our Checkfront Online Booking System, where you can pay using debit, credit card or paypal. Once you have completed your online booking, you will automatically receive an invoice along with our terms and conditions. Alternatively you can contact us directly.

    You can also book through the Lerwick Tourist Office - +44 (0)1595 693434.

    Our Noss Boat Tours are extremely popular, we do advise booking early to avoid disappointment.

    We look forward to welcoming you onboard The NO.1 Noss Boat 'Seabird'.

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