A major machinery restoration programme was undertaken between 1999 and 2001, the engine was totally rebuilt and the boiler refurbished with a new burner. The vessel finally emerged in time to take part in the Festival of the Sea at Portsmouth in 2001. In March 2003, the Steam Boat Association awarded the Hugh Casson Trophy to Steam Pinnace 199 for the restoration of the vessel.
In 2011 she failed a test for her boiler certificate and a hull survey sponsored by National Historic Ships both indicated the need for further restoration. A refit committee was formed, a work package planned and fund raising commenced. A Heritage Lottery Award was obtained, a generous donation came from the Friends of the National Museum of the Royal Navy (Portsmouth) as well as a range of other donations in cash and materials. During 2012-2015 volunteers undertook a major refurbishment of the hull, replacing cracked beams and rotten timbers including a section of the keel, the hog and part of the stern. The hull outboard was stripped back to bare wood through numerous coats of paint. Several bulkheads were replaced or partially replaced to maintain internal watertight integrity. Paint and varnish were then replaced using specialist advice to choose and apply the products.
The engine and boiler bearers were replaced which served to strengthen and stiffen the hull. The machinery space canopy was stripped back to bare steel inside and out, identifying areas of corrosion especially in way of the brass scuttles. A two-part epoxy paint was used on it together with rubber gaskets to limit future problems.
The boiler has been retubed, all valves overhauled, and the Boiler inspector has issued the prescribed Pressure Systems Safety Regulations Annual Certificate.
The Main Engine has been inspected, key components measured and recorded. All auxiliary machinery has been inspected, defects repaired, key components measured and recorded. New fuel tanks manufactured and fitted. New electrical system with controls fitted. All machinery has been painted.
Over 13,000 hours of volunteer work were recorded. The work was undertaken by skilled or supervised volunteers overseen by an experienced professional shipwright and experienced retired naval engineers.
The restoration work has been recognised with competitive awards from National Historic Ships as well as the Institute of Conservation / I.Mech.E award for the best restoration of an industrial artefact. Also with an award and grant from the Transport Trust.”
Steam Pinnace 199 is believed to be the last remaining operational naval picket boat and is listed in the National Historic Ships Register as a member of the elite National Historic Fleet. Strictly speaking in her current layout she is a hybrid with an armed picket boat layout forward and an admiral’s barge aft but she does proudly represent those 634 steam pinnaces originally built.