Plymouth Shipping records
We hold records of vessels registered at the Port of Plymouth from 1824 to the late 20th century, but please note this does not include Royal Navy or Merchant Navy vessels. Please search our online catalogue for details.
The records held include the original registration (including fishing boats), later transactions and transfers of vessels, appropriation books, tonnage and cargo books, Harbour Master’s transaction books, some files for individual vessels
A comprehensive index and guide to many of these records has been published on CD called ‘Plymouth’s Other Fleet, The Merchant Shipping Registers of the Port of Plymouth, 1814 to 1876’. Please see Plymouth Merchant Ships website for details.
For current shipping register information, please contact the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, Registry of Shipping and Seamen.
There are no emigration records held in the Plymouth and West Devon Record Office. Any surviving records are held in the National Archives in London. It is worth noting however, that many children of emigrants leaving Plymouth were baptised and entries from 1872-circa 1900 are within the Holy Trinity Church registers. There are also a number of good websites including the Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild.
A small number of ships logs have been privately deposited for Royal Navy vessels. Please search the online catalogue using the name of the ship.