Summary of Contents

Merchant Ships
Over 2,500 vessels, registered as Merchant Ships in the Port of Plymouth prior to 1945 – transcripts of the registers and additional information now available on CD including:

  • the official record of building or capture, with a surveyor’s description and her eventual fate;
  • the full names of all the registered owners; on death, details of probate and executors;
  • all mortgages; naming the lender, often with the amount borrowed and rate of interest;


Added material:

  • newspaper reports of launches, wreck and rescue and other memorable events – from fast passages and slow, to cases of smuggling, scuttling, piracy, murder, and even cannibalism;
  • shipbuilders of the Port of Plymouth; the vessels they built and their yards;
  • a list of vessels built within the Port by unknown builders;
  • detailed information concerning many major ship owners and shipbuilders, including some contributions from descendants;
  • the system of registration as seen in registers, with the Acts of Parliament under which the system operated.


Fishing Boats
A requirement to register British fishing boats was introduced by an Act of 1843 and the CD contains transcripts of the surviving local and national records; including, from 1936, details of owners and skippers from the surviving Fishing Boat Registers.  Many photographs of vessels identified by their Port Numbers are included.

The whole text (approximately 5,500 A4 pages) is completely and easily searchable, copiously cross-referenced using hypertext links and is in PDF format; readable on any computer. The CD is designed to Auto-start to the Contents List, providing access to all the other material by hypertext link.

Comprehensive listings which include all the merchant ships and fishing boats with their official numbers (where allocated) Port numbers etc., are linked to register transcripts and further information. Where the vessel was also registered elsewhere, a summary of those registrations is usually included. Whether the vessel was built in a small Westcountry port, in the great industrial centres of northeast England or Scotland, in Maritime Canada, or elsewhere – if she was registered at Plymouth in the period, her details are included – barges, fishing boats, coasters, Mediterranean traders or emigrant vessels to Canada, USA, Australia and New Zealand.

Examples of some of the information contained under the main sub-headings within the CD can be seen HERE. It is emphasised that only a few typical page examples of the selected headings are shown on this web-site.