The Picton Castle is rigged as a three-masted barque, is long, and carries of sail. She has a 690-hp diesel engine for the times when sailing is not feasible. The ship has space for roughly 50 people, consisting of about 12 professional crew and 40 sail trainees.
The Picton Castle is captained by Daniel Moreland.
In September 2007, the Picton Castle announced its first Voyage of the Atlantic The ship will embark in May 2008 from its home port of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia and follow the Westerlies across the North Atlantic for the British Isles and Northern Europe. Then sail across the English Channel and down the coast of France to Spain, Portugal, and Gibraltar. Explore the Atlantic Islands of Madeira, the Canary Islands and Cape Verde and follow in the wake of Columbus as the Picton Castle sets sail on one of the finest studdingsail passages, riding the tropical trade-winds across the mid-Atlantic from Senegal, West Africa, crossing the Equator to Fernando De Noronha, Brazil and onward to the sweet isles of the West Indies.
During the summer of 2007 the Picton Castle successfully completed its first Bosun School The purpose of the Picton Castle Bosun School is to provide an opportunity to young dedicated mariners to advance their skill level in a concentrated fashion without the natural demands and distractions of being underway at sea.
In the spring of 2007 the Picton Castle was featured in Mark Burnett's CBS reality show Pirate Master. The show was filmed in the Caribbean island of Dominica and premiered May 31 2007 in the spot previously occupied by Survivor.
On the night of December 8 2006, as the Picton Castle was roughly 760 kilometres south-east of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, the ship encountered bad weather; a wave swamped the ship, sweeping one of the crew overboard. The person swept overboard was later identified as lead seaman Laura Gainey, daughter of Bob Gainey and respected member of the Picton Castle professional crew. She was not wearing a life jacket or a survival suit, but due to the warm water temperatures (22 °C) and her excellent physical condition, she was expected to survive for up to 36 hours. She was able to call out while being swept overboard, and crew on the ship threw flotation devices and radar reflectors into the water to aid her and mark her position; subsequent searching was concentrated on this 'debris field'. However, the search was called off after three days when no trace of her had been found. The search was carried out by the Picton Castle, United States Coast Guard and Canadian Coast Guard aircraft, and merchant vessels.
An investigation was undertaken by the Cook Islands, where the ship is registered.
A recent investigation titled "Overboard" by the CBC program the fifth estate claims to have uncovered serious safety problems with the ship. On November 18 2007 the Transportation Safety Board of Canada decided to undertake an independent investigation of the event.