In 2007, the Advisory Committee on National Historic Ships published online the first two volumes of its Understanding Historic Vessels series: 

Click on the images below to download the files: (PDF, 427 and 400KB)

Recording Historic Vessels  Recording Historic Vessels

 Director of National Historic Ships UK, Martyn Heighton, stated:

"The United Kingdom is fortunate in possessing a magnificent collection of historic ships and boats, distributed widely throughout these islands, reflecting our rich maritime history and the many innovations in marine technology and design that have been produced here over the past few centuries.  In these volumes, we aim to help vessel owners both to understand their vessels and to preserve the information about the vessel for the future.

The first volume, Recording, sets out how to go about creating a record which ensures that the quintessential characteristics of the vessel concerned are captured.  It also offers guidance on how to preserve this record in a safe, effective and accessible way.

Unfortunately,  there are also occasions where vessels cannot survive: they are too dilapidated or too insignificant to justify the great cost of conservation, or there is no one willing to take on such projects.  Yet the information they hold may be important, and to lose such vessels without saving this information would be to miss an irremediable opportunity to broaden our knowledge and to hold that knowledge for future generations.  The second volume, Deconstruction, provides guidance on the options for what to do when a vessel can no long be saved so that she can be given an appropriate end and her history preserved."

After consideration, National Historic Ships decided not to publish these volumes in hard copy form, preferring their usability and flexibility as digital versions.

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