Recording Historic Vessels & Deconstructing Historic Vessels

These two volumes were published in 2007 by the Advisory Committee on National Historic Ships, forming the first half of the guidance series Understanding Historic Vessels, which was then completed in 2010 when Conserving Historic Vessels was also printed.

In 2019, NHS-UK took the decision to review Recording & Deconstructing Historic Vessels and produce second editions of both, to reflect the latest methodology, changes in technology and to include a series of practical case studies drawn from across the sector.

All three volumes have become widely adopted and are used by vessel custodians, heritage professionals, funding bodies and government officials to determine the level and type of intervention needed in any heritage project. They set down the principles and approach we would like to see adopted in relation to all craft on the National Register of Historic Vessels, to ensure greater consistency across the sector.

Director of National Historic Ships UK, Hannah Cunliffe, stated:

"These volumes have been produced to help specialists and non-specialists alike understand a historic vessel and determine how best to create an enduring record of it, conserve it in an effective way or, in the sad eventuality that it can’t be saved, ensure that as much history as possible is preserved and any salvageable parts.

As a nation, we face a considerable challenge in managing vessels at risk, with no legislation in place to protect craft on the National Registers from loss and increasing pressures on custodians from the economic climate. It is therefore more important than ever that the principles in Understanding Historic Vessels are adhered to wherever possible to safeguard vessel significance for future generations.”

The first two volumes can be downloaded here:


Recording Historic Vessels - front cover

Deconstructing Historic Vessels - front cover


Vol I - Recording Historic Vessels  Vol II - Deconstructing Historic Vessels  

The third volume in the series Conserving Historic Vessels is for sale online. Please click here for details of how and where to purchase.