The late 1800s saw the start of the steam drifter and by the early 1900s the drifter was the mainstay of the fleet. To begin with these boats were laughed at , but they were to change the fortunes of the Herring fishermen in a big way. These were prosperous years for the fishermen as they could fish further afield with these bigger, steam driven boats, carry more nets, and so catch more fish. The Russian taste for salt herring meant a booming trade between the Scottish fishermen and the Baltic.

The Admirality built a lot of drifters during the First World War and after the War they were sold to fishermen and called Standard drifters because they were built to Admirality standard.

The love of the Steam Drifter has lasted like the steam trains, they were individuals with all their own unique characteristics, and it was with some regret that the older fishermen saw them give way to the new boats with modern diesel engines. The young fishermen chaffed at the fact that these boats could leave port immediately while the steam drifter could take two or more hours to raise steam. Economics forced the demise of the steam drifter as the price of coal was rising and diesel was surplus to requirements. It also needed a driver a firemen and a cook-3 men on wages while the fishermen themselves could learn to drive the diesel engine and they could leave the engine room unmanned.

Progress marches on, and rightly so. The graceful sailing ships had to give way to the drifters, which in turn gave way to the motor boats. Some of the boats in the harbour today are like cruise ships. Where are we going next.?