|Ordered in 1983, the ship was launched in 1984 by Vito Steel Boat & Barge Limited at their yard in Delta, British Columbia. The design of the vessel is based on offshore supply-tugboat designs, with strengthened chines. The vessel has a tall foredeck, and a long low quarterdeck, for carrying buoys, where a crane with a capability of lifting 15 long tons is permanently mounted. The crane is motion stabilized.|
In June 2016 Samuel Risley underwent a major refit by Newdock – St. John's Dockyard Ltd. The cost of the contract was $3.6 million CAN. The refit involved the replacement of the bow thruster, a crane overhaul and recoating of the hull, along with a renovation of the galley and inspections.