Thanks to the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, we can offer small grants to vessel owners towards conservation projects. We give grants of up to £1,000 or 50 per cent of the total cost of the project, whichever is the lesser.     

Our guidance manual Conserving Historic Vessels sets out the approaches we expect to see owners and custodians adopting in maintaining and conserving our maritime heritage. You will also need to demonstrate in your application how an award will deliver public benefits as well as supporting the vessel itself.

Please note - awards will only be made if you can demonstrate that with the award you will have all the money needed to complete the project.

NHS-UK decides grants on a case-by-case basis. If for any reason a project is cancelled, the grant will be withdrawn. Grants are not inter-changeable.

1. Eligibility

Grants are only made to vessels that have been on National Register of Historic Vessels for more than a year for conservation management planning, surveys or remedial works demanding specialist and/ or expensive materials. Please note the following:

  • VAT cannot be claimed as part of your grant award
  • Grants cannot be made for work already started or completed
  • Only one grant application for a vessel in a financial year (April to March) can be made
  • If the vessel is put on the market, we reserve the right to withhold the award pending confirmation of the outcome of the sale. If the vessel remains for sale, we may withdraw the award after a nine month review from the date of first notification
  • If the vessel is sold abroad within a year of receipt of the grant, the vendor is responsible for repaying the grant to us.

2. Applications

Applications must:

  • be made online
  • identify the relevant conservation process set out in our manual Conserving Historic Vessels
  • include a full breakdown of costs, with contractors’ estimates attached if appropriate
  • demonstrate that funds are in place to cover the rest of the costs
  • include a timetable (we generally expect the work to be completed within two years
  • include photographs and plans

If your application includes volunteers you must detail:

  • the roles volunteers will play and their qualifications for undertaking the work
  • how many volunteers are likely to be involved
  • how many volunteer hours are included in the project
  • how, and by whom, volunteers will be supervised

In-kind contributions should be based on the following values for each volunteer:

  • professional services, up to £350 a day
  • skilled labour, £150 a day
  • unskilled labour, £50 a day

The work must be completed and the grant claimed within nine months. Any grants unclaimed after that period will be withdrawn.

Any information you provide when applying for a grant is kept on our electronic records system or locked paper files and is only accessible to authorised staff.

Applications deadlines are set out below:

Applications deadlines are set out in the schedule below:

Closing date

Decision made by

1 June

1 July

1 September

1 October

2 January

1 February

Any grant application received after these deadlines will be considered in the following grant review period except in exceptional circumstances.

3. Payments

Payment will be made when we receive proof of expenditure - the relevant receipts – together with a claim form (which can be downloaded from our website). We cannot accept scanned receipts and the claim form must have an original signature. Please allow 30 days for payment.

When making a claim, your bank details will be supplied to the Finance Department for processong and the record of them will then be destroyed. Details of your grant will be held alongside vessel data in perpetuity for archival purposes.

4. Publicity

By making an application, you agree that the details of the grant and any images of your project may be used by National Historic Ships UK to publicise our activities. All personal and business details relating to the owner or trust will of course remain confidential.