Flagship of the Year and Regional Flagship of the Year are annual awards run by National Historic Ships UK and, for the first time, in 2020 we are inviting both operational AND static vessels to apply.

We are seeking craft which raise their profile through their cruising programme, by attending public events and festivals (at a local level or across the UK), or by hosting promotional events with strong visitor outreach initiatives.

An example of an operational vessel is St Joan (awarded national Flagship 2018)

An example of a static vessel is ss Great Britain or Alfred Corry.

We want to celebrate historic vessels and maritime heritage across the UK and you can be one of our ambassadors!  Our Shipshape Regional Networks capture vessel conservation and skills activities in your local area. Visit our Shipshape Network to find out more and select your Regional zone when completing your application.

Vessels applying on the basis of their usual seasonal activity will need to demonstrate ways in which they will seek wider audiences, state how they will attract additional visitors or apply new marketing activities in order to qualify for the award.

The benefits of being a NHS-UK Flagship

The National Flagship will receive £500 to spend on the vessel and a special Flagship Broad Pennant to fly at the masthead.

Regional Flagships will receive £250 to be spent on the vessel and a Broad Pennant comprising the colours of the National Award Pennant reversed.

Awards in both categories are made on the premise that the submitted programme will be achieved, and that Flagships will actively promote the scheme and the work of National Historic Ships UK throughout the programme and to the widest possible audience.

Please note any award not taken before the next round on applications begin will be withdrawn automatically.

How to apply

Please note that any data supplied within this form may be held by National Historic Ships UK in perpetuity for archival purposes and kept on our electronic record system which is only accessible by authorised staff. 

Using our online application, owners of vessels/organisations on the NRHV who wish to apply should outline their programme for the season, setting out:

  • Key places to be visited (where relevant)
  • Details of any events or festivals to be attended, or hosted, including what public benefit they will bring
  • Links to any cruising destinations of particular relevance to the vessel’s history
  • For static vessels: details of your events programme and public engagement opportunities, including any projected visitor numbers
  • Ways in which the vessel will support the work of National Historic Ships UK during the year and raise the profile of maritime heritage

Applicants should also include the following:

  • Details of vessel outreach in previous years e.g. visitor numbers, events attended, engagement with the public or specialist groups
  • An explanation of how the grant will be used
  • Photographs or marketing material which demonstrates the aesthetic and promotional impact the vessel is likely to make.

To help, you can review an application from a previous winner here (St Joan, 2018).

The panel reserves the right not to award this grant depending on the number and the quality of the applications received. Please note that henceforth an individual/organisation cannot apply for flagship if a vessel from their fleet has already received this accolade previously.

Vessels/organisation applying for Flagship status are of course free to attend festivals and events outside British waters but the vessel must then be returned to her permanent berth in the United Kingdom in order to qualify for Flagship status.

The vessel/organisation awarded Flagship status agrees to carry publicity material on behalf of National Historic Ships UK for distribution at events, as well as allowing members of the team to come on board by prior arrangement at any festival attended to promote the work of National Historic Ships UK. The Broad Pennant should be flown on all public occasions when the vessel is deemed a representative of National Historic Ships UK.  National Historic Ships UK will work closely with successful applicants throughout the season to promote and support their cruising programme via social media, its website and news.

Applications open from the 31st January 2020 until midday 31st March 2020.