Register FAQs

Q: Can I nominate a craft belonging to someone else?

A: No, the vessel must be nominated by the owner and with the owner's details included on the form. Or you can copy the form and pass it on to encourage the owner of another vessel to nominate their craft.

Q: How old does a vessel have to be if it is to be nominated for the National Register of Historic Vessels?

A: The vessel should be at least 50 years old.

Q: Does a vessel have to be built in the UK to be included on the National Register of Historic Vessels?

A: No, but the vessel must have demonstrable and significant associations with the UK.

Q: What does build date refer to on the registration form?

A: The date of on which the construction of the vessel began or the keel was laid

Q: Is there any restriction on the size or type of vessel to be nominated for the National Register of Historic Vessels?

A: Yes, there are size restrictions. The minimum overall length is 33ft length overall (10.07 metres) excluding any spars or projections. Please ensure that the measurements you provide are accurate and are in the form in which the vessel was originally built (imperial/metric).  By not supplying accurate details the vessel may not qualify for registration. The National Small Boat Register based at National Maritime Museum Cornwall has a separate register for vessels under 33ft length overall. To apply for registration click here.

Q: What information is required to nominate a vessel for the National Register of Historic Vessels?

A: The Registration Form outlines a series of questions relating to your vessel: ownership, historic significance, construction, configuration, condition and documentation. Fill out those areas you are able to answer which are relevant to your vessel, and then return the form with any images and research information you have.  We will contact you to follow up your registration.

Q: Where can I get restoration work done?

A: Shipwrights and other tradespeople are qualified to do many of the jobs required to restore a vessel, and there are a growing number with experience of restoration work on older vessels. Check our Directory of Skills and Services for craftsmen near you.

Q: What are the priorities or guidelines for a restoration project?

A: National Historic Ships UK encourage people to retain as much of the original structure or integrity of the vessel as is practical. If restoration work is required, we encourage owners to look at the full history of the vessel before making decisions on the restoration work to be done. Many vessels have developed over time and it is often inappropriate to decide on one base date to which a vessel should be restored. In some cases preservation of the vessel in its current state is preferable to major restoration and rebuilding work. It is recommended that before any work is done, the existing structure is assessed, photographs and notes taken, and if possible plans drawn for the work required. It will be necessary to undertake research to find evidence of the vessel's earlier configuration, by sourcing pictures, plans and contemporary reports or documents that can be used as primary sources. For more information read our guidelines on Understanding Historic Vessels.

Q: How can I research and document my vessel?

A: A comprehensive documentation of a vessel includes information and images of the boat as it exists, and of its history, noting the various stages it has passed through and any important events. It can include plans and drawings, (original or recently drawn), registry or other official papers, any references, articles or stories in the media, (including audio visual material), and anything else which might add to the knowledge of the boat and its use. The documentation can begin with just a few pieces of information, which can be gradually built up, to eventually form a more complete picture of the craft.

Q: Where do I find information about my vessel's history?

A: For more information on your vessel, the first port of call may be the National Maritime Museum's Caird Library, click here to review their search guides. If you are looking for ships' plans click here.

In addition, previous owners often have information, as do local libraries, archive repositories, historical societies, and other groups such as yacht clubs and community, sporting or special interest associations.

Q: Can I use the National Register of Historic Vessels to contact other owners?

A: Vessel owners' details are not made public but if you would like to contact an owner please let us know and we will forward your request.

Q: Can I obtain any grants for my vessel?

A: Yes. National Historic Ships UK may make small grants to assist owners to ensure the long term sustainability of historic vessels. Currently, only those vessels that have been registered for at least one year will be eligible for a grant. There are other possible sources of grants - see the Grants section on our website.

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