Following nine successful years of very different kinds of vessels from around the UK winning this award, National Historic Ships UK has again extended the scheme this year by making one National Flagship and two Regional Flagship awards to recognise the impact that many vessels make in their home cruising grounds as well as further afield.

In announcing these awards, Hannah Cunliffe, Director of National Historic Ships UK, said:

“I am delighted that we are able to offer these Awards once more and publicise the range of cruising programmes which these vessels are planning for the coming season.  Our three Flagships have all shown their enthusiasm for raising the profile of UK maritime heritage and we look forward to working closely with them in the months ahead.”

The Award criteria requires vessel owners to come forward with seasonal programmes to engage the public through festivals, demonstrations, on-board cruises, quayside visits, educational programmes, participation in races and similar activities.  Flagships are expected to promote actively the role of National Historic Ships UK by distributing associated PR material and flying the flag as our ambassadors.

The National Flagship of the Year will receive £500 to spend on the vessel, and the special Flagship Broad Pennant (which has become a feature of the award) to fly at the masthead.

The two Regional Flagships will each receive a grant of £250 to be spent on the vessel, along with a special Regional Flagship Broad Pennant denoting the year in which the award was made.  

The 2018 National Flagship Award has been awarded to:

St Joan, Motor Yacht for her commemorative circumnavigation of the UK to mark the 100th anniversary of the formation of the RAF, the 70th anniversary of her return to private ownership and the 15th anniversary of her last purchase.  St Joan will be raising funds for the RAF100 and RNLI Charities as well as promoting maritime heritage at the numerous ports of call along the way.

The 2018 Regional Flagship Awards have been awarded to:

Gondola (North West Region), Steam Yacht although primarily a landlocked vessel, Gondola has been awarded a regional flagship for her dedication to promoting National Historic Ships UK during verbal commentary on board, plus the strong programme of events planned to enhance her usual cruises including Heritage Open Days to mark the centenary of the 1918 Armistice.

SS Shieldhall (Solent Region), Service Vessel - SS Shieldhall was National Historic Ships UK’s first National Flagship in 2009.  This year (which marks her 30th anniversary in current ownership), she has been awarded regional status in recognition of her continual and extensive sailing programme in the Solent area which has seen passenger numbers increase exponentially each year. 

Pictures of vessels available on request.   

Please note that each Flagship will be presented with its broad pennant by a member of the NHS-UK team.  For photo-call dates or further information about National Historic Ships UK, contact:

Emerald Laing, National Historic Ships UK


Notes for Editors:

Details of all the winning vessels can be found on our National Register of Historic Vessels. Go to

National Historic Ships UK advises the Department of Culture, Media & Sport and a range of grant giving organisations on priorities for ship conservation and is the official voice for historic vessels in the UK.  It maintains the National Register of Historic Vessels, which lists over a thousand significant historic vessels.