Seabirds-and-Seals - The Original Noss Boat Tours

Finalists – Two Categories – Highlands & Islands Thistle Awards 2024 – 15.07.2024

We are absolutely delighted and excited to share that we have been shortlisted for this year’s Highlands and Islands Thistle Awards for the second year running.


These are highly regarded Scottish tourism awards and absolutely over the moon to be shortlisted for both categories. We look forward to attending the awards ceremony in Inverness with guests on 4th October.Awards chairman Stephen Gow said: “The finalists for the 2024 awards reflect the strength and diversity of our tourism and hospitality sector, which continues to demonstrate remarkable adaptability and innovation in the face of challenges facing the entire tourism sector.

“We are also pleased to see so many new entrants and finalists this year, which is a testament to the resilience and growth of our sector.”

This news comes not long after our FSB Scotland ‘Service Excellence’ award, where we won for the whole of Scotland and our Green Tourism Gold award.
Team Seabirds-and-Seals would like to say a massive thank you to our strong team, all our many passengers from around the globe, social media followers, the local community, friends and our families in helping make us the success we are today.
Well done to all the other finalists, we look forward to celebrating with you in October and wish you the best of luck ❤️.
Seabirds-and-Seals - The Original Noss Boat Tours

TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice 2024 – 26.06.2024

We are excited to announce that today we have once again been honoured with the TripAdvisor 2024 Travellers’ Choice Award, an award we have received yearly since 2018.  
Travelers’ Choice, formerly Certificate of Excellence, recognizes businesses that earn consistently great reviews. Travelers’ Choice award-winners are among the top 10% of listings on Tripadvisor. Tripadvisor Travelers’ Choice honors select accommodations, attractions and restaurants that consistently demonstrate a commitment to hospitality excellence.
A massive thank you 🙏🏻 to all of you – our lovely passengers and our brilliant team.
Your constant support, love, and constructive feedback have been instrumental in our journey and helped us achieve this award.
We are fast approaching 800 reviews, we couldn’t have done it without you. Thank You from The NO.1 Noss Boat as ranked on TripAdvisor! ❤️
Seabirds-and-Seals - The Original Noss Boat Tours

New Local Business Collaboration – JB’s Coloured Pencil Art – 01.05.2024

We are delighted this year to be working in partnership with local artist ‘ John Birnie – JB’s Coloured Pencil Art’.  We have our online shop where we advertise greetings cards for sale, which are also available for sale onboard along with our other branded merchandise.  Our current greetings card stocks were created from an artist in the Highlands.  All created through paintings in pastel from photos taken by a number of passengers who joined our tours and with their permission of course.  

With stocks of our current online shop coming low for our greetings cards, we are this year keeping the creation to a local supplier.  John Birnie (JB’s Coloured Pencil Arts) is creating greetings cards using his fine pencil art skills, all inspired by photography he has taken on our tours.  He also suggested adding a photograph of our boat and contact details onto the back, great promotion for both business. 

We are very excited about this new collaboration and once produced, we will have them for sale online and onboard, along with our other branded merchandise.   

Until John’s drawings are ready to sell onboard, we have purchased some of John’s wildlife greetings cards which he currently has available, all of which are taken locally.  He has also added our boat and business details onto the back.  John quoted “Nice picture of your boat on the back, for visitors to remember their holiday experience on your boat”.

John is a self taught coloured pencil artist and has dabbled in pencil art on and off over the years and after retiring in 2012, we found more time to indulge in his art hobby.  Originally it was only graphite pencils he used as an art media but then he was inspirited by coloured pencil work.  He discovered online and especially the fine detail that the medium allows.

He has gradually developed his own style with drawings inspired by the scenery and wildlife of the Shetland Islands.

He tends to work with ‘Faber Castell’ Polychromos pencils which are oil based and allow for very fine detail and depth of colour.  You can view his drawings by visiting his website:  All his artwork is referenced from his own photographs.

This is an exciting new innovative partnership with promotion for both local family businesses.   

We have also created a new website page ‘Partnerships & Sponsorships’ detailing all of the local businesses we collaborate with and support – great to support our local community where we can. 


The Noss Boat Team Paricipates In Da Voar Redd Up 2024 – 30.04.2024

The Noss Boat Team recently participated in our yearly ‘Da Voar Redd Up’.  All Shetland born and bred, this is a community event that we have been happy to participate in from a young age.  We were allocated the Gulberwick Beach and extremely lucky with mostly sunny spells throughout. 

We filled 14 green bags and all from our Gulberwick beach. Whilst clearing up, we came across a lot of rope & plastic – this is something we unfortunately encounter during our tours throughout the season, which we remove and dispose of responsibly when ashore.  Other finds were: cans, fabric, tupperware tubs, plastic bottles and a brand new shoe.  The shoe looks brand new – anyone missing the black shoe shown in the picture.  We were expecting to find the other shoe and clothes as thought maybe someone had gone skinny dipping – no chance with the waves crashing in and baltic sea temperatures.

We feel hugely satisfied knowing we have played our part in the community to help protect our rich marine environment.

Da Voar Redd Up is the UK’s most successful community litter-picking event, with around 4,500 people (20% of Shetland’s population) volunteering each year. The Redd Up makes a huge contribution to the protection of Shetland’s natural environment and wildlife, clearing Shetland’s beaches, coastlines and roadsides of litter and the debris washed up by winter storms.

Shetland’s amazing community spring clean has been running for over 31 years.  In that time it has cleaned over 1,900 tonnes of bruck (that’s litter or rubbish, for those of you not from Shetland) – we have a saying ‘Dunna Chuck Bruck’. 

The direct community action on the global epidemic of litter shows that anyone make a difference and every piece collected matters.  We hope you are inspired to start your own Redd Up. 

Seabirds-and-Seals - The Original Noss Boat Tours

Accessible & Inclusive Tourism Operator – 28.04.2024

When we took over the business, we wanted to make our tours ‘inclusive for all’ and create a great experience without barriers or restrictions. This in return improves the tourism experience for a wide range of customers who may need specific adaptions or facilities. These include disabled people, seniors, families with young children, and those with a medical condition.

With Marie having experience of working in the care sector for a range of different needs for both adults and children, many adaptions have been added to make our tours ‘inclusive for all.

Our first move was to make our boat ‘wheelchair accessible’ which was skilfully done by Brian whereby he added a flat, obstruction-free boarding platform to accommodate all levels and abilities.

It’s not just about having wheelchair access, we also cater for customers with hearing, visual and speech impairment, dietary requirements, foreign languages with our Original customised Identification charts which are available in many different languages. We basically cater for everyone to make us a Responsible and Inclusive tour provider.

Along with many new additions this year, we are delighted to have ‘Dementia Friendly’ name badges for all crew members. We also have onboard an ocean sensory box, to keep ‘autistic’ passengers calm should they find any given situation too overwhelming.


The team at Seabirds-and-Seals Noss Boat Tours 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.  We have a dedicated website page titled ‘Accessible & Inclusive Tourism’ which details our inclusive approach and welcome any new suggestions. 

Marie has worked previously as a Learning Support Worker and Social Care Worker, many times at a Senior level.  She has worked in various settings for a diverse range of clients, which she continues to do in the Winter months when not operating tours.  She has various care related qualifications and also has certified training for ‘disability inclusion’ in Hospitality, Travel & Tourism.  Marie has made adaptions within the business by providing facilities onboard which are autism & dementia friendly, as she has a good understanding on both due to all her care working experience

When we have customers using wheelchairs onboard or any other mobility aid, we position them where they are going to get the best view at all times throughout our planned tour route which we explain in our introductions and safety briefing. Could we kindly ask passengers travelling with us when we have wheelchair customers onboard or for anyone else having to rely on a mobility aid, to please be respectful and not block their view as we want everyone to feel socially included.

We know how easy it is to get immersed in all that you see. We do have an extremely huge viewing platform as shown on our website homepage video to allow everyone to enjoy the spectacular views and to get the best images on our 5-Star multi-award winning Noss Boat Tours.

We are delighted again this year to be working in collaboration with Ability Shetland, Shetland Befriending Scheme & Shetland Carers Plus many other local businesses.  We are proud supporters of our local community, if you have a new collaboration that you would like to discuss, please do get in touch.

If you have any questions or concerns prior to booking, please do not hesitate to get in touch and we will be delighted to assist.

Seabirds-and-Seals - The Original Noss Boat Tours

Double Award Presentation – 19.04.2024

We have had a fantastic start to our 2024 season which has seen us win two fabulous accolades.
We were firstly awarded ‘Service Excellence’ for Scotland at the FSB – Federation Of Small Businesses.  This award gives recognition for businesses that goes above and beyond, plus great dedication in putting their customers first.  FSB Highlands & Islands development manager David Richardson said: “I met Brian and Marie in Lerwick in November and was instantly drawn to their warm and welcoming natures and their passion for their business.  “I’m absolutely delighted – but not surprised to see them win our service excellence award”.  We now go onto the UK Finals to be held in Blackpool in May.  
On the back of this, we heard the news that we had received Green Tourism ‘Gold’.  In October 2022, we were the first boat tour operator to announce publicly that we were ‘awaiting grading’.  We worked extremely hard that year on our sustainable practices which we submitted as evidence onto our online green tourism assessment.  Early 2023 we received the delightful news that we had been awarded ‘Silver’.  We worked hard again throughout 2023 on our practices which we again submitted as evidence and delighted early 2024, to be award ‘Gold’.  As Green Tourism advocates, we will continue to monitor our practices and update our online assessment as and when changes take place.  
For our ‘Service Excellence’ accolade, we were due to attend Bute House in Edinburgh to collect our award.  We unfortunately couldn’t make it, but we were delighted to have onboard our local MSP Beatrice Wishart presenting us with our trophy. Beatrice came along just before we headed out for our first tour of the season and spent time chatting to our passengers.
As we received our Green Tourism ‘Gold’ plaque at the same time, she wanted to award and congratulate us for both.
Thank you Shetland Times for sharing our successes, greatly appreciated.
We look forward to heading to Blackpool in just under three weeks time to attend the FSB UK finals. We are up against 11 other UK regional winners for this category and even if we don’t win, to get this far is an incredible achievement and a testament to our approach in working responsibly, ethically and sustainably. The awards ceremony presents us with opportunities to collaborate with many other like minded businesses.
Seabirds-and-Seals - The Original Noss Boat Tours

New Business Addition…Showing Our Heart Is In What We Do – 15.04.2024

Earlier this year we sourced a defibrillator through charity organisation AEDdonate . Our decision to have this onboard reflects our commitment to responsible tourism & inclusivity, ensuring everyone can enjoy the wonders of nature with peace of mind.

We hope we never have to use it but on hand should an emergency situation arise.

AED Donate – Press Release:
With no location out of bounds, we’re delighted to share a different kind of installation. There is now a defibrillator permanently located onboard The Noss Boat ‘Seabird’.  Taking a boat tour around Bressay and Noss Islands allows visitors to see the abundant wildlife in Shetland.

Owner Marie said: “Ensuring safety at sea is our utmost priority! On our nature tour boat, we’re now equipped with a defibrillator, ready to respond swiftly to any emergency situation. We’re prepared for the unexpected during our tours around Bressay & Noss islands. With support from ambulance services, coastguard teams, and the RNLI, we’re now part of a network dedicated to keeping everyone safe on the water. Our decision to have a defibrillator onboard reflects our commitment to responsible tourism and inclusivity, ensuring that everyone can enjoy the wonders of nature with peace of mind.

Thanks to Seabirds-and-Seals – Original & Best Noss Boat Tours for choosing to work with us, your support enables us to continue helping other organisations and communities.

Is your community protected in the event of a sudden cardiac arrest? Click on the web link to find out how they can support you


Seabirds-and-Seals - The Original Noss Boat Tours

Announcing Our ‘Name The Puffin’ Winner – 15.04.2024

On 30th March we released here on our Blog as well as on Facebook, that we were running a competition to win a FREE trip for one adult and one under 16 with the winner drawn on 15th April.  . 

The competition was to name the puffin which was gifted to Brian last year as a belated present for a Big Birthday, but we won’t see how old, ha.  This beautiful stuffed puffin was made by one of our many returning customers who joins us year after year for a few trips during her stay, along with her husband.  They had booked a few tours with us last year and had planned to present it to him personally but unfortunately had to cancel their trip due to personal circumstances. 

We absolutely love our new addition, but we needed help in giving our puffin a name, hence reason we decided to run it as a competition. 

It’s not been an easy task picking a winner, we ended up doing a Top 10 for a draw. Our draw took place on the afternoon of 15th April inside the boat cabin with a video, which we posted on facebook to announce the winner and you can view it here if you are on facebook. Marie went mostly Shetland dialect so we hope you can understand her.  She originates from Burra Isle which has a very distinctive twang but we know from feedback that her accent is appreciated on the tours.

We beat not keep you waiting any longer…the winner is: Teresa Kirkpatrick who suggested ‘Tosh’. Well done Teresa and thanks again to everyone who entered. We will be in touch Teresa to get her gift voucher out to her.

We are pretty sure you are keen to hear the Top 10, so here goes:











Tosh will be added to our ‘Meet The Crew’s section on our website as our Mascot and will keep Skipper Brian Or Marvyn in good company, keeping a lookout at the helm. We know Tosh will be in for a lot of love and affection by both children and adults.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our followers and to everyone who supports us in any way at all.

Thank You
The Noss Boat Team

Tosh – The Noss Boat Mascot


Supporting Our Local Heroes…Who Help Save Lives At Sea – 14.04.2024

Throughout the years we have been invited by RNLI Lerwick Lifeboat to assist with their training exercises, they rely entirely on donations and fundraising so that they can train their crews to keep saving lives at sea.  

Our boat acts as a casualty vessel under tow, allowing their crew to practice important skills such as safely attaching tow lines, taking a boat under tow and manoeuvring a boat without power alongside a safe berth in the harbour. This is extremely valuable experience for their crew.

The Lerwick branch of the RNLI has provided four lifeboats over the last 90 years.  The first one arrived in July 1930 and was called the Lady Jane and Martha Ryland, now we have the beautiful Michael and Jane Vernon 17-10.  The current lifeboat is a severn-class all-weather vessel (56 feet) and the most powerful in the RNLI’s fleet, with two ‘MTU’ engines that produce up to 1600 horsepower, a top speed of 25 knots and a range of 250 nautical miles. 

The costs for all 4 lifeboats have been entirely met by donations.  The team are grateful to all those in Shetland & beyond who have helped with funding. 

Their service has been recognised with 62 RNLI Gallantry Awards, including the most recent RNLI gold medal awarded to Coxswain Mechanic Hewitt Clark for the rescue of five crew of the Green Lily off Bressay in November 1997.

We are proud to support our local community and as Shetland’s first tour operator to announce publicly in 2022 that we were awaiting Green Tourism grading, we continue to set good examples in all that we do.

We will continue to support our local heroes in any way we can. We host an RNLI donation box inside our cabin, whilst on our tours, if you have any loose change please feel free to donate. Every donation goes towards helping lives at sea.

We also support them by providing gift vouchers as raffles for local fundraising events organised by the committee, keep up the good work folks…you are amazing.

Photo Credits: Bob Kerr

Seabirds-and-Seals - The Original Noss Boat Tours


We are again this year, a recommended boat operator for the Sea Watch Foundation – a charity the business has been part of ever since the early days. We were recently approached by one of the team as they wanted to do a story on our business, we look forward to sharing this soon.
Sea Watch Foundation is a national marine environmental charity working to improve the conservation of whales, dolphins and porpoises in the seas around Britain and Ireland.
We work closely with Seawatch by reporting sightings and they know we are always there to assist where we can, with any surveys to gather important data to help towards the conservation of our marine wildlife. 
Sea Watch Foundation Mission
Ceteceans are at risk of decreasing population sizes and even local extinction due to continuous threats to them and their habitats.  These threats include capture and drowing in fishing gear, sound disturbance, marine pollution and over-fishing.
Sea Watch Foundation Aims

Monitoring the numbers and locations of whales and dolphings in order to gain valuable knowledge of the health of our marine environment, and insight into the effects of chemical pollution, noise disturbance, over-fishing, accidental capture in fishing gear and climate change.

Involving the public in scientific monitoring. 

Raising awareness and understanding of marine mammals and the threats they face.

Educating, informing and advising for better environmental protection.  

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.

If you’d like to find out more about how to minimise disturbance visit 👇…/scottish-marine-wildlife…

If you think you are witnessing a wildlife crime, take footage of the incident and report it to the Wildlife Crime Unit on 101.