National Historic Ships, the successor to the National Historic Ships Committee, which emerged from a seminar held in 1991 to discuss the problems facing the preservation of historic ships and vessels in the UK and the evident neglect of this important part of British heritage. Strong support was expressed for the creation of a co-ordinating body that could provide an overview of all aspects of historic ship preservation and the Committee was formally launched on 15 July 1992 by Lord Lewin, then Chairman of Trustees of the National Maritime Museum.
National Historic Ships carries a wider remit than its predecessor body, looking not only at the immediate issues concerning historic vessels in the UK, but also addressing questions relating to the support infrastructure for historic ships, their potential for contributing in the wider economic, social and community context, and by maintaining a watch list of vessels abroad with potential UK significance. As well as providing formal advice to funding bodies, it also gives direct assistance to vessel owners, for example through its small grants scheme and its directory of relevant skills and services.
The National Register of Historic Vessels (NRHV) is a database that lists vessels that are:
Inclusion on the Register is with the owner's consent. The records include details of designer, builder, dimensions, construction, propulsion, service history and current location, as well as images of many of the vessels.
The National Register of Historic Vessels contains a sub-group of some 200 vessels that comprise The National Historic Fleet. These vessels are distinguished by: