2023 – Final Journey on the Tees

2023 – Final Journey on the Tees

The next step of an exciting journey; gifting our passenger boat Juno to Bristol Ferry.

After a decade on the River Tees Rivershack is passing on the baton to another Community Organisation.

“This is a significant milestone for RiverShack.”

Passenger boat Juno, with Rivershack owner Rachel Dodd taken by photographer Gilmar Ribeiro
Juno and Rivershack owner Rachel Dodd taken by Gilmar Ribeiro as part of the MIMA People Powered Stories exhibition 2023

“We are committed to the importance of providing education and access for under-served groups, and promoting unseen river-based communities. Passing on the baton to a like-minded organisation like Bristol Ferry seemed the natural next step in our RiverShack journey.

“River communities are part of the DNA and character of those local neighbourhoods.  While disappointed that it was time for RiverShack’s operations to cease, we are thrilled to be part of helping a fellow community organisation.  

We understand the significant responsibilities and relentless challenges faced while operating in an MCA regulated environment and within the community education services sector, so it’s especially exciting to help Bristol Ferry to expand their waterbus service and education programme. We look forward to visiting Bristol in the spring, taking a boat trip and seeing Juno in her new livery!

Sincere thanks to Rivershack supporters

“We want to give sincere thanks to the many stakeholders who supported RiverShack and the tens of thousands of passengers who have smiled and shared their experiences of the River Tees with us; We’ve seen proposals on rowing boats, weddings on Juno, birthday parties, and family reunions.

We’ve refereed community row-ball (football on boats!), cruised with swimmers and paddleboarders, and even seen smiles from local fishermen (not easy). We’ve supported important charities and promoted the rich River Tees community on a global scale – our visitor book proves it.  We’re privileged to be part of this story.

Thank you: We couldn’t have done this without the ongoing support from a range of stakeholders, including our relentlessly resourceful crew, the wider river community of boaters, AV Dawson (Port of Middlesbrough), Stockton on Tees Borough Council, Tees Active, TVCA, Ben Houchen, NGP, Red Lion Marine, Hewitt Cranes, Teeside Princess, the Canal River Trust, MIMA, The Auxiliary, Teesside University, Whitby Coastal Cruises, Yarm Business Forum, Yarm Town Council, many many local groups who have supported our journey and each of our many passengers. We could write a book of the stories arising from the people of the Tees!

Rivershack 2013 – 2023

RiverShack (2013 – 2023) provided access to the River Tees for people of all ages, abilities and incomes from Yarm to Tees Barrage, focusing on educational trips for children and community groups, supporting local and regional events and promoting the River Tees.

Passenger boat Juno was known by her distinctive turquoise and red livery, supported by Clovelly rowing boats and Canadian canoes at Yarm and Presston Park.

Juno’s story

Built in Belfast, passenger ferry between Kerrera & Oban (with wheelhouse further forward than it is now), then to the Isles of Bute in Scotland before heading to Whitby as part of the Whitby Coastal Cruise organisation (remodelled with a central wheelhouse) and to the River Tees, where we remodelled her further with a rear canopy.

Juno takes each new phase in her stride, and we look forward to seeing her next adventure start in Bristol.

For a history in pictures or to see if you can spot yourself on one of our boats – see our facebook page @RiverShackTees


(*Image of Juno and Rachel, copyright Gilmar Ribeiro from MIMA exhibition People Powered Stories)


RiverShack’s impact on the River Tees and local community:

Rivershack has helped to activate the Tees since 2013, inspiring and lobbying for the future potential for leisure and economic use of the River Tees and Tees Heritage Park. We’ve created tens of thousands of happy memories, educated and enabled. We’re privileged to have been part of a rich and welcoming river Tees community.

RiverShack is an organisation unique to the borough, Teesside and the northeast known for:

  • Providing equitable access to tens of thousands of people of all ages, abilities and incomes to the beauty and wellbeing benefits of the River Tees and River Tees Heritage park including:
    • Primary & secondary school children, brownies, scouts, sea cadets.
    • Specialist community groups including Chernobyl children, Dementia sufferers, Veterans, Families impacted by Autism, carers and many more.
  • Facilitating new access points for canoes, kayaks, paddleboarders, Open water swimmers on the River Tees at Yarm and Tees Barrage.
  • Providing rescue support and guidance to swimmers, river users and boaters.
  • Supporting SBC community and Arts programmes including HAF activities, City Games, MAW and MIMA
  • Provided river support services including roles on River Users Group, River Safety group, River Tees Rediscovered, lead EA flood warder and promoting responsible river use, including production of River Users Guide as part of River Tees Rediscovered project.
  • Supported conservation by developing renovating skills for heritage projects including wooden boat ‘Jenny’ at RSPB Saltholme and ‘Juno’ now at Bristol Ferry.


  • RiverShack has made a significant contribution to the conservation and protection of the natural environment of the Borough by providing access to the river Tees to tens of thousands of people of all ages promoting understanding of our river environment.
  • Additionally, as a CIC RiverShack significantly invested in making the borough a great place to live, work and conduct business by installing access pontoons at Yarm and Tees Barrage.

A not-for-profit organisation, RiverShack was founded by the hard work and dedication of directors, Rachel Dodd and Russ Hewitt, supported by relentlessly hardworking crew and financially supported by public contributions and wider funding. (Both directors work elsewhere in full time roles and gave their time unpaid for RiverShack, Rachel teaches locally in Higher Education at Teesside University).