The period of the industrial revolution was a challenging time for British ports as escalations in trade demanded improvements to infrastructures and access to the ports. Programmes to clear and mark access channels and provide quays with warehousing and wet docks for safe berthing were commonplace. Lancaster on the River Lune, some five miles from the sea, was one of the many ports that sought to make these improvements under the direction of a Port Commission which was established by an Act of Parliament in 1749. The article reports on the improvements that were introduced to navigation on the river using the surviving records of the Port Commission as the principal source with a special focus on the introduction of powered dredging in the mid nineteenth century. The scope includes a review of the early development work on steam powered dredges, the circumstances that led to the purchase and use of a machine on the Lune and the work undertaken to improve the navigation.