How to search



If you know the name of the vessel, the “Search the collection” search will find all the vessel(s) of that name and all associated objects. Vessel names are those in the earliest entry in a register or other record. Vessels with prefixes such as St, St., Saint have now been standardised as St. 

Regular users will notice that each entry now has its own unique number making it easier to identify different vessels of the same name.


Advanced Search 


If you are seeking vessels from a particular yard, line etc, entering the name in the ‘Institutions’ box will retrieve these vessels. The search can be refined by combining this with entering the type of vessel (eg. Brig, Clipper, or other term) in the description box.  

The launch date of vessels can be searched here. These are entered following Day/Month/Year format.  

Explorer text: 

If your search is more detailed such as owners, masters, wreck site, voyages, cargo etc. This can be found by entering the term in the explorer text field. It is best to limit the length of phrase to retrieve the best results.  

To help you search the site, we have standardised the entries as follows. 

If the yard name is known it will be recorded by its full name (contemporary with vessel).

Otherwise it will be recorded as Unknown. If you are not sure the full name of the yard try part of name eg. Hall* this will retrieve all records of vessels that were built or partially built in named yards containing Hall (Hall, Hall Russell’s…). 

Yard number: 
Not all yards had numbered lists of vessels but where we have this information, it is presented in the format Yard Number: XXX. 

This is the ultimate event for the vessel (including wrecked, grounded, lost, scrapped, missing) followed by place and date if known.  
Otherwise the last known date the vessel appears in either the Lloyds Register or other register is given. Although newspaper articles often mention vessels wrecked etc they can be unreliable and prone to confusing vessels of the same or similar name. 

Vessels are divided into three main types – sail, steam and motor. Vessels with auxiliary sails are categorised by their engine type. Steam and motor propelled vessels are further qualified by means of delivery (eg paddle, single screw etc).

The format of entry is Propulsion: XXX.

Vessel Types: 
These follow accepted rules. Sail powered vessels are denoted by type of rig at time of launch, eg ship, schooner etc). Barque rigged vessels have been rendered as such rather than Bark etc. Barquentine Brig, and Brigantine are likewise rendered as such. A guide to rig may given in the icon for the entry.

Vessels that are engine powered are defined by their designed primary function eg. Cargo Vessel, Dredger, Tanker etc. 

This is searchable in free text and contains voyages, masters, changes in ownership and other events linked to vessel. It is best to avoid long phrases as errors in entering can often limit results.



Image: Aberdeen Harbour from Municipal Tower