Radio Caroline and The Boat that Rocked
Posted by Mike, G7FEK on Wed, 01 Apr 2009 12:30:34 +0100

As a new comedy film is launched today at the Cinema, radio Caroline also prepares to celebrate 45 years of broadcasting...

In Easter 1964 Radio Caroline took to the high seas to provide a POP broadcast radio service for young people and the monopoly of the BBC was broken.

In 1967 the Marine Offences Act was passed and later enhanced giving the government extreme and controversial powers to silence the pirate stations. Radio One was borne to dispel the argument that the stations were necessary, Many stations closed down in 1967 but Radio Caroline continued on.

In 1973 commercial Radio started in the UK.

In 1984 Radio Caroline was joined by another famous ship, the MV communicator when Laser 558 hit the airwaves. New life was brought to radio in the eighties with the slick, American style production of Laser. "You're never more than a minute away from music". Laser gained huge mainstream audiences and was a threat to the young commercial radio stations.

The MV Communicator

You can find more about this vessel here:

In 1985 the Government blockaded both of the boats so supplies of diesel and food were almost impossible to maintain and Laser was eventually forced off air. Caroline somehow managed to survive and continued.

As well as playing records, Radio Caroline has broken records too. The MV Ross Revenge (Still afloat) once had the largest mast structure fitted to a ship at 100 meters tall, and probably has the record for the longest a functional vessel has remained at sea.

Caroline suffered a major collapse of its huge mast in 1987 and eventually ran aground on the Goodwin sands in the north sea in 1991 Causing massive damage.

Normally 1000 ton ships do not survive the extreme forces on their hull without breaking, but the super strong Ross Revenge survived. Badly damaged the ship was re floated and towed in to shore under arrest.

Since then, the Ross Revenge Support Group and the new Radio Caroline headed by Peter Moore have done much to keep the dream alive using Shortwave, Internet and satellite radio. Radio Caroline still broadcasts today and can be found on Sky 0199 or the Internet at

The Caroline ship "Ross Revenge" is being lovingly maintained by the RSSG and maybe will broadcast again - although it is only likely to do this as a licensed station. Many broadcasts are still made from the studios on the ship. Despite some attempts to make use of the Laser Ship "Communicator", after much neglect and some vandalism it was eventually scrapped a couple of years ago and is lost forever.

Please help support the Ross Revenge if you can.

Today sees the release of film by Richard Curtis "The Boat that Rocked" is released at the Cinema,. This is a fictional comedy loosely based on the 1960's era of Radio Caroline. It may be an entertaining bit of fun for all you anoraks out there!!

Comment by 'G7FEK' on 13 Apr 2009 - comment
“OK, This article was more a brief history of Radio Carline, not so much about the film. Well I've seen some clips and trailers of "the boat that rocked" and I must say that it doesn't make me want to rush to the box office. I don't think this type of film will impress many anoraks either, but I could be wrong. Don't expect the film to be more than a distant hint of the true Pirate Radio era. At least they borrowed the "heritage studio" from the Ross Revenge to make the film, so the boat should look like a radio ship. Post your comments here if you go and see it.”