Mercantile Navy List and Maritime Directory Online

The Mercantile Navy List, compiled by the Registrar General of Shipping and Seamen, was published from 1849 until 1976 (with a gap 1941 to 1946, during World War II). This list is the official, comprehensive listing of all merchant vessels registered under the British flag. It is an important reference tool for research into the history of British merchant shipping.  It includes many ships not listed in Lloyd's Register.
It provides basic information on each ship, which can be used to trace other records and to compile an outline history of a ship and its owners. Early volumes also include useful appendices, such as lists of pilots, receivers of wreck, and obituaries, and records of awards and testimonials for services at sea. The Mercantile Navy List provides a comprehensive index to ships' official numbers from 1849 to 1976, and an index to certificates of competency up to 1864. This site has digitised lists available for 1868, 1875, 1876, 1878, 1880, 1882, 1891, 1892, 1896, 1899, 1904, 1907, 1911, 1913, 1914, 1918, 1919, 1921, 1923, 1924, 1925-1940, 1947, 1949, 1951, 1953, 1955, 1957-1965, 1968 and 1973.