Message from Hannah Cunliffe, Director, National Historic Ships UK

Update - 29th June 2020

In a statement on 23rd June 2020, the Prime Minister announced further easing of restrictions across England, including the reopening of museums and galleries.  Whilst this is extremely welcome news for many in our sector, financial pressures continue and we realise it is likely that some organisations, particularly the smaller sites, will be unable to open at this time due to the costs and challenges that reduced capacity and social distancing measures bring.

The new regulations allow people to stay overnight in self-contained accommodation from 4 July, provided no more than two households stay together.  British Marine Federation guidance understands this to include overnight stays on boats and indicates that this will be permitted in England from 4 July, which will see a full reunion of private owners with their craft. Marina operatives’ and harbour authorities’ guidance for local areas should still be checked in advance of a visit for information on facilities etc.

The Canal & River Trust has announced that from 4 July all inland waterways boaters in England can stay overnight on their boats and take extended cruises. Holiday hire boat companies will also be able to operate freely, whilst taking precautions around safe practise, such as extra cleaning.

British Marine Federation states that the new regulations can extend to the hire of craft by two households as long as the new social distancing guidance is adhered to, but is waiting for further guidance on the details of this.  The Tourism Minister Nigel Huddleston confirmed via social media that households can now book a boating holiday.

The revised social distancing guidance says that people should remain two metres apart where it is possible. Where it is not possible, the guidance asks for a distance of one metre or more to be observed, with further mitigation taken to reduce the risk of transmission. 

National Historic Ships UK staff continue to work from home and to deliver as many standard services as possible, including processing new registrations, providing online training, and offering guidance to vessel custodians.  Earlier this month, having collated evidence from the historic vessel community, we submitted a report to the Select Committee inquiry on the impact of Covid-19 into DCMCS Sectors.

We are committed to offering continued support to all our stakeholders during this time and are happy to schedule meetings by phone or video conferencing to any vessel custodians or Shipshape projects that require additional advice.  Please email: for further details.

The following new and updated information relevant to our sector has been issued:

Government guidance on working safely in heritage locations

NMDC Good Practice Guidelines on Opening Museums after July 4th 

Guidance for DCMS Sectors

Royal Yachting Association - Advice and information for recreational boaters

VisitEngland’s ‘We’re Good to Go’ Mark - businesses are able to register their property as being managed in a COVID safe manner. This mark is available to businesses in all parts of the UK, and businesses will be assessed according to their respective national guidance including the social distancing and cleanliness protocols that must be in place.  


Useful online resources 

We have collated a range of resources to support our sector following the outbreak of Covid-19 or coronavirus.  This list will be regularly updated - please email if you would like a resource to be included. 

General advice

AiM (Association of Independent Museums) - COVID-19 advice and resources

Government guidance what you can and can't do after 4th July

Government guidance - working safely in heritage locations (Updated 24th June)

Government guidance - for DCMS sectors

Heritage Alliance - Covid-19 Guidance Hub (updated 26th June)

Museums Association - Covid-19 resources for organisations and individuals

NCVO (National Council for Voluntary Organisations) - Information for your charity or voluntary organisation

Advice for Vessel Owners

Canal & River Trust - Coronavirus and boating FAQs (updated 23rd June)

Canal & River Trust - Updates for boaters with the latest information

Government guidance - using a boat inland and on the coast (11th June)

National Historic Ships UK - Join our new Facebook Groups for historic vessel owners and Shipshape Network projects to share advice and discuss issues affecting the sector:

Royal Yachting Association - Advice and information for recreational boaters (updated 25th June):

Royal Yachting Association - Return to boating - advice for training centres and instructors (updated 25th June)

Funding & Financial Issues

Government guidance for charities - managing Covid-19 related financial difficulties in your charity

Government guidance for voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations on funding and fundraising

Heritage Alliance - Covid 19 Funding Hub (updated 9 June)

Heritage Lottery Fund - £50 million available for a Heritage Emergency Fund to support the UK heritage sector as an immediate response to the COVID-19 crisis - and guidance on applying for the Fund  

NCVO (National Council for Voluntary Organisations) - Contingency planning and financial implications for charities and voluntary organisations

Sport England - Funding for local sports clubs and charitable organisations e.g. sailing clubs and trusts 
(Closing date: 31st July)


Museum re-opening

Museums Association
- Re-opening the museum sector - what support is needed to facilitate opening?

NMDC (National Museums Directors' Council) - Good practice guidelines on reopening Museums



AiM (Association of Independent Museums) - COVID-19 - Conservation and care of collections 

ICOM (International Council of Museums) - Conservation of museum collections under lockdown

ICON (Institute of Conservation) - Coronavirus guidance for conservators

National Historic Ships UK - Historic Vessel Conservation distance learning course *now 15% off*

Social and Digital Media, Adult Learning Resources and Home Working

AMA (Arts Marketing Association) - Free digital skills training programme for small or medium heritage organisations, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund

AMA (Arts Marketing Association) - Free webinars on a range of digital media topics

Heritage Lottery Fund - How to enjoy heritage at home 

Museums Association - How to take advantage of digital platforms

Museums Association - free learning resources

National Archives - free online resources and live chat enquiries

National Historic Ships UK - Join our new Facebook Groups for historic vessel owners and Shipshape Network projects to share advice and discuss issues affecting the sector

National Historic Ships UK - Historic Vessel Conservation distance learning course *now 15% off*

The Skills Toolkit - free digital and numeracy courses to help build your skills

Zoom and Skype conferencing - a 'how to' guide

Activities & Resources for children

Chatham Historic Dockyard - Museum from home

Hull Maritime Museum - Learning resources for primary schools

Kids in Museums - Round-up of museum activities to enjoy at home 

Mary Rose - Things to make & do

RNLI - Kids' activity sheets

Royal Museums Greenwich - Curriculum-linked learning resources plus Explore their digital collections and check out their latest stories, videos, blogs & more

ss Explorer - New online educational resources for primary age children

ss Great Britain - Design & Make

Titanic BelfastNew online resources for kids including science experiments, activity sheets & fun makes

Trinity House - Buoys, Beacons and Bananas Key stage 1-3 education resources