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National Register of Historic Vessels (Britain)

Last modified: 2011-03-25 by rob raeside
Keywords: national register of historic vessels | historic vessels | wave |
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[National Register of Historic Vessels] image by Clay Moss, 3 February 2011

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Description of the flag

The significance of the National Historic Ships registers and the differences between the two ensigns are succinctly explained on the National Historic Ships website. The National Register of Historic Vessels contains details of over 1,000 vessels, including "designer, builder, dimensions, construction, propulsion, service history, current location and ownership", together with images of many of the vessels. Within this group, there is a sub-group of vessels called the National Historic Fleet, these being the vessels entitled to fly the ensign with the coronet. These are distinguished, according to National Historic Ships by:

  • being of pre-eminent national or regional significance.
  • spanning the spectrum of UK maritime history
  • illustrating changes in construction and technology
  • meriting a higher priority for long term preservation
You can view vessels in the National Historic Fleet here: and see an image of Vessel Number 7, Alaska, with The Queen on board and the Royal Standard flying at the jackstaff here:, the photograph being taken on the occasion of a recent Swan Upping Ceremony on the River Thames. The inclusion of the word 'National' does not imply that the vessel is in public ownership. Indeed, over 57% of the vessels on the register are privately owned or commercially operated.

See also the official supplier's promotional leaflet for the ensign, which has a close up of the coronet:, the file size of which is a bit on the hefty side and the images contain artefacts. Presumably, this is only available as an actual flag through this company and to owners of the registered vessels only.

Source: National Register of Historic Ships, web site,, as consulted 04 February 2010.
Colin Dobson, 4 February 2011

The badge was designed by the Flag Institute.
Kenneth Fraser, 8 January 2011

I take it the design is meant to represent a white ship's prow pushing through the waves?
James Dignan, 3 February 2011

Fleet vessels ensign

[National Register of Historic Vessels] image by Clay Moss, 3 February 2011