Nova Spero and our

Cruises around Scotland

Skarv Lines and her vessel Nova Spero is owned and run by John MacInnes and alongside his crew of 3 (cook, steward/deckhand and engineer).  The team operates cruises around Scotland throughout Scottish coastal waters and occasionally international waters (Norway and perhaps the canals throughout The Netherlands in the future) for up to 11 guests.

Since John’s purchase of Nova Spero in May 2014, the vessel has undergone extensive refurbishment while remaining afloat and operational.   She has been at MacDuff shipyards between Sept 2018 and April 2019.   During this time she has undergone complete installation of passenger accommodation and facilities with final passenger coding to Category 2 in April 2019.

Our vessel is equipped with holding tanks for both black and grey water and additionally has a sewage plant which meets latest DNVGL requirements.

Over the refit period power systems have been modified to see what suited vessel best.  Last year full rewiring took place of 24 V systems and 230 v in crew accommodation by RD Downies Fraserburgh meeting latest regulations.  Power systems allow us to go silent in evenings with battery power through an invertor supplying 230V, music excepted of course.  This helps protect the environment by reducing carbon emissions and noise pollution, for canal transits and your own quiet space on a Scottish Loch or Norwegian Fjord. Our silent generator supplies power daily for all other domestic requirements.

Nova Spero is also equipped with shore power facilities which will use whenever available.

Our vessel has an aluminium watertight bulkhead fitted with access to forward section of accommodation through a watertight door.    This safety measure is above the current legislative requirements, further enhancing safety and stability of vessel.  It also increases sound proofing.

In our lounge area below the original shelterdeck we have 2 external doors leading onto the afterdeck.  There is additional watertight door in the forward Lounge leading out to bow under the shelterdeck.  This lead to a walkway running down starboard side of the vessel. Portholes on Starboard side are protected by Shelterdeck which allows us to have natural ventilation in Lounge whatever the weather.   The loss of natural light due to this is well balanced by a skylight in our Lounge, a unique vessel feature.

On Port side Portholes are set into the original shelterdeck, so you have a view straight out to sea.  The only other opening on the port side is to a double bed cabin.  This ensure we keep the vessel looking true to her original lines – she very much looks like a fishing vessel with the added benefit of having no compromise on safety.

In Lounge area we have a fully self-contained Galley kitchen with external Bulkheads of Aluminium construction and 100% fire proofing on the inner walls.  There is also toilet & shower facilities in the lounge area.

For your security & safety, our vessel has fitted cameras covering: exit doors from the lounge area and wheelhouse, external decks and the engine room.  We have 8 security cameras in total and they are monitored from the Wheelhouse.

Our cameras can be accessed remotely via the Swann app . We can provide you with a link so your friends and family can follow some of your journey on the high seas.   Please note remote access to the cameras via the app is dependant on internet access and depending on our proximity from the nearest service/coverage, it may not be accessible at times.

Vessel can be monitored on passage via Marine AIS too.

NB. The Nova Spero Is most Definitely not a Houseboat!!!

Edit:  Due to Covid-19 and the imposed restrictions, I may have to go down the houseboat route yet so maybe my comment about Nova Spero most definitely not a houseboat , may have to retract partly anyway.



The main accommodation is located in what was originally the Fish Hold (completely gutted and painted If you pardon the pun).  Our accommodation configuration is as follows:

  • 2 x 2 Berth Cabins: Each Cabin has 1 x 80cm x 200cm bed and  1 x 90cm x 200cm bed in aft section of the hold
  • 1 x 2 Berth Cabin: 1 x 90cm x 200cm  bed &  1 x 80cm x200cm bed
  • 3 x 2 Berth Cabins with Bunkbeds: Lower Bunk : 80cm x 200cm, Upper Bunk: 70cm x 200cm in the forward section of the hold
  • 1 x Double Bed Cabin with a 110cm x 200cm bed adjacent to the Guest Lounge

All guest rooms are heated and have a wash hand basin with hot and cold water (except the twin cabin in the forward starboard side) and storage for clothing and personal belongings.

None of the cabins are en-suite however shower and toilet facilities as follows:

  • Toilet in the aft section
  • Shower and toilet on the starboard side of the main accommodation in the forward section.
  • Shower toward the bow with access to escape hatch to Lounge deck.
  • Additional shower and toilet on the Lounge deck
Nova Spero offers Scottish Island & River Cruises


Boat Facts

  • Origin
    MFV Nova Spero, built by MacKay Boatbuilders of Arbroath in 1973. She is one of 5 vessels designed by Millars, St Monans and built by MacKays.
  • Vital Statistics
    Length 20.4m (68 ft), Beam 6.5m (21.3ft), normal Draft 3.0m (10ft).
  • Power
    D353 Caterpillar engine overhauled by Bob Sinclair and winner of Fishing News competition : Finnings website : mycathero , Fixed Pitch single Shaft / Right Hand Pitch Propellor.
  • Main Engine
    Powers 2 Alternators supplying 24 V to Engine and Lighting Batteries / with feed to GMDSS/Emergency Batteries.
  • Generator
    Mitsubishi/Sole Generator: 13.4 KW
  • Voltage
    We have both 230 V and 24 V supplies.
  • Shore Access
    When moored off-shore, we have a RIB for accessing the shore.
  • Insurance
    We are fully insured for passenger travel with additional public indemnity insurance.
  • Licenses
    We are fully licensed to serve food & alcohol
  • Environmentally Friendly
    Where possible we operate environmentally friendly practices such as recycling, waste water disposal, gas heating & cooking facilities etc.

Nova Spero's


Nova Spero has a really impressive fishing reputation on both Coasts.  On the North East of England she fished out of North Sheilds and Eyemouth.  She fished from both North East of Scotland and on West Coast where she pair trawled with FV Stardust (retired fisherman In Tobermory remembered her and said she had caught a lot of herring in her time!).

There is some more information on Nova Spero’s heritage to be detailed here soon.

Nova Spero Built by MacKay Boatbuilders of Arbroath


Built for Fairnies of Musselburgh (Fisherrow). Fishing Letters H142. Jamie Fairnie was onboard in Fraserburgh in July 2018.

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Sold to Gillies from Campbeltown: CN187


Sold to Gillies from Campbeltown: CN187

Robert Gillies and one of his crew were onboard in Mallaig in  August  2017 while enroute to Loch Ewe and one of Blas Concerts in Dornie (Berthed Kyle). Rachel Walker and Angus MacCall . Rachel from Kinlochewe and not Kinlochleven! (Hence name Kinlochleven to Kinlochewe trip on intenary).

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Sold to Sean Edwards of Newlyn: PZ187


Shaun did the passage from Newlyn to Garelochy with us.  Shaun won Bravery award from the Shipwrecked Mariners Society: presented by Princess Royal for Towing the dismasted tall Ship Fryderyck Chopin from 100mls of Scilly to Falmouth 3 days in pretty grim weather. There were 47 crew onboard of which 36 where trainees aged 14 years. See BBC News, October 13 2010 for details.

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Bought by John MacInnes


Master Mariner: Islander and Highlander – Eriskay and Kinlochleven.

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Charter Nova Spero in 2022

We have taken the decision to only offer private charter bookings of Nova Spero for early 2022.  

We'd be delighted to take you and your family or friends on an adventure around Scotland's beautiful islands and coasts, so if you'd like prices and availability, please contact us on +44 (0) 1738 718 509 or email  

Please note you are unable to book a charter online, so please do get in touch and we'll be happy to chat through your cruise ideas.

Our normal cruise schedule will resume from early Summer 2022.  If you'd like to be kept informed about our schedule of cruise holidays, please subscribe to our mailing list using the form at the bottom of our website homepage.