Competition for a painting featuring one of the many registered Historic Vessels to be found in ports and harbours around the UK

This new competition, resulting from a partnership between the Royal Society of Marine Artists, the Wapping Group of Artists, and National Historic Ships UK, offers a first prize of £1,000, plus a number of excellent other prizes for work depicting and celebrating vessels on the National Register of Historic Vessels. There are some 2000 vessels on the Register, ranging from large ships to canal boats, in locations to be found all over the United Kingdom. 

The competition is for a work recording your engagement as an artist with one of these historic vessels. You are encouraged to visit a site yourself in order to sketch, paint, photograph, talk to those at work and absorb the significance of the particular vessel. The judges will be looking for some indication that you have done this. 

You may search the Registers here. You can use the filters on the right to narrow your search by location, and for a selection of vessels filtered by different zones, see below:

If you inform us of a vessel you wish to engage with, we will do our best to put you in contact with the custodian.  You may also consult a list of events where registered vessels may be present here, and you can keep up with any newly announced events on our dedicated page.

You may use any medium except digitally manipulated photographs (if you are interested in this option, National Historic Ships UK host a yearly Photography Competition). If submitting prints, these should be traditionally hand-worked, i.e. not digital (giclee) reproductions.


The work will be judged by a panel including a representative from National Historic Ships UK, the Royal Society of Marine Artists, the Wapping Group of Artists and an art & design education professional.

Selected work and prize winners

A list of selected works will be online at OESS on 4th October. Prize winners will be notified after this date. Winners will be publicly announced at the NHS-UK Annual Awards film.

List of Prizes

Baltic Exchange is proud to award the first prize of £1,000 for the best painting depicting the nation’s historic vessels. Since our origins in 1744, we have been an independent source of maritime market information. This award celebrates the artistic portrayal of our rich maritime heritage, honouring the connection between historical integrity and artistic expression.

Arthur Beale Open Neck Sailor’ Smock These sailcloth smocks have been designed to be highly practical pieces of work wear. The canvas cuts out cold wind while sailing. They can be used over a tee shirt in warmer weather or over a woollen pullover in the winter. As they are easy to wash and they protect woollens from dirt while undertaking mucky tasks. Two handy pockets front pockets keep tools close to hand.  And they are brilliant for artists too!

Daler- Rowney has been inspiring creativity since 1783 with a range of products including, paints and brushes etc. A prize is £120.00 RRP worth of products 

Art Marine The prize for an outstanding painting of a square - rigger £100.00 or gift voucher for a print value of £200.00. In addition to the prize the winner will be offered representation at

Classic Sailing are pleased to offer a creative journey aboard TALLULAH in Cornwall. Experience three days of artistic inspiration along the South Coast. Learn from a resident artist and no sailing experience required. Join us for an unforgettable voyage in 2025.

GRAYHOUND & Guild of Ships We are thrilled to support the Afloat & Ashore competition. GRAYHOUND is a replica 18th century ship that offers voyages and cargo runs. The winner of the £500 voucher will be warmly welcomed for the adventure of a lifetime. Guild of Ships is a booking platform for traditional sailing ships and a circular economy service that builds community in the ultra-low-emission sail sector. We look forward to staying connected with the competition.

Worshipful Company of Shipwrights A prize of £150.00 for the work by a 11to16 year old junior artist.

Seawhites of Brighton A prize open to 11 to 16 year olds using any medium. The winner will a £100.00 voucher for use at our retail website.

Exhibition(s) The Custom House, The Quay, Exeter, Devon.  April 2025 Dates and arrangements to be confirmed


You can find more information on RSMA's website, and you can enter your work here from 3rd June until 20th September 2024.

There is an entry fee of £10 for each work submitted. This will be collected online when you make your entry. 

Junior category: There will special prizes for young artists aged between 11 to 16. The entry fee will £5 for each work submitted. 

Your original work should not exceed 80 cm. longest dimension, to include the frame if any.


For each work you enter in the Competition you will be asked to grant the RSMA and NHS-UK a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free license to use for two years, and publicly display your work solely in connection with the Competition or linked promotional material including RSMA and NHS-UK websites and without any further notice or remuneration to you. Your entry asks you to provide your name in the format you wish to be used in any acknowledgements.

If your work is selected, we reserve the right to reproduce it for commercial purposes including, but not limited to, calendars, promotional flyers and on social media, by doing so you agree to give the RSMA and NHS-UK a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty free licence to use, copy, modify, translate and / or adapt, distribute and publicly display your work.

*The prizes must be taken as stated and cannot be deferred. There will be no cash alternatives to the prizes. Any prize remaining unclaimed six months after the closing date of the Competition will be declared void.


Valid wherever legal, the rules of this competition are subject to English law and the parties to any dispute or action shall submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts.

Dawn at West Mersea by John Killens