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Model boats at The National Maritime Museum Cornwall in Falmouth by Paul Abbitt

The volunteers in the Bartlett Centre manage many different research databases covering a wide variety of subjects.

National Small Boat Register

At the present time the National Small Boat Register database is undergoing maintenance, any new entries will appear when the update is complete. Thank you for your interest and we apologise for any inconvenience.

View the National Small Boat register database

This is a register of notable historic small craft (33ft LOA and below). They are owned by individuals, organisations, trusts or museums. All are noteworthy; some may be worthy of long-term preservation.

The database probably represents only a fraction of the boats which could be included. If you know of a historic boat that you think is important or which you think should be preserved then let us know.

  • It might be a local boat
  • It might be a famous example of a well-known class
  • It might be owned by a trust, organisation or individual
  • It might be a sailing boat, motorboat, pulling dinghy, small yacht, hovercraft…

We want to know about boats in all states of repair: well looked after and ‘well-used’. If you are proud of it then tell us about it.

So, what sort of boat should you suggest?
For traditional boats, almost any boat which is still on the water after 50 years would be an obvious candidate.

For most dinghy classes we need a representative sample, no more than five boats or so, on the Register, especially if it is a one-design class. There are already more than 45 International 14s on the list which may be more than enough.

If you know of a boat that you think should be added to the list then please email headed NSBR.

How else can you help us?
If you think we have got the details wrong on any of these boats, or if you have a photograph where we have not shown one, then please let us know.

If you are an enthusiast – dare we say ‘anorak’ – who knows about the boats in your home area, especially the traditional ones, then we need to hear from you. The Register is only going to work if it draws on the expertise from as many people as possible. Its strength is that it is a cooperative effort from everyone who knows and loves boats.

What if the vessel is over 33ft in length?
There is a separate well-established database – the National Register of Historic Vessels or NRHV – which is managed by National Historic Ships UK. We are working closely with them in the development of both registers.

Contact us
Send any additional details or questions to us at headed NSBR.

View the National Small Boat register database

International Vernacular Craft Database

The International Vernacular Craft database is a list of boats from around the world which are known to be in the UK. The vast majority are held in museum and other collections. Our favourite discovery from outside the world of museums was of a Sri Lanka boat which is part of a shop display on the Isle of Skye. Our definition of vernacular, for this database, is that the craft should be essentially craftsman-built (rather than designed by a designer or marine architect), locally-built and suitable for local conditions. The majority are working boats which were used for fishing and transport. Some of these craft will be listed in the National Small Boat Register but some will not. As with all our databases, we need your help. If you know of a vernacular craft which we have not mentioned then please email us.

View the International Vernacular Craft database

Yacht Design database

Over the years yachting magazines have carried reviews of new yacht and boat designs. Some of these have gone on to become classics, others have not. The volunteers in the Bartlett Maritime Research Centre have trawled through eighteen different titles from as far back as 1891, and have extracted over 14,000 articles about individual boat designs. We don’t pretend that this is a comprehensive list because we do not have every copy of every yachting magazine over that period, but we think we have found most of them. If you want to find details of a design then use the search facility below to check if we have what you’re looking for. If we have, you can either access the magazine by visiting the Bartlett Centre in person or alternatively we can send you a copy of the article via email but please note that there may be a charge. To request an article then email us at quoting as much information as possible. Please note that copies are provided for personal reference only and normal copyright rules apply.

View the Yacht Design database

We also hold an archive of yacht plans for the designer, Alan Buchanan, which are still being catalogued. The current situation is shown here.

Archives database

Our collection of many of our boats and objects are on display for visitors to see. A less visible collection is our archive of boat plans, documents and photographs relating to the maritime history of Cornwall and the development and use of boats. Some of the archives are small – barely a single photograph – others are very large. This is our fastest growing collection and we are working hard on cataloguing everything. Below is a small sample of our holdings searchable by keyword. This is being regularly updated. You can view the archives by making an appointment with our curator via email to: Copies of documents or photographs for personal research can be supplied, subject to a small fee and normal copyright law.

View the Archives database

National Maritime Museum
Cornwall Trust
Discovery Quay
TR11 3QY

Tel: +44(0)1326 313388


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