|National Park Service|
Historic Ships Listed by Name, Type, and Region & State
The over 200 ships that appear on these listings are derived from the NPS Maritime Heritage Program database inventory of large preserved historic vessels. The inventory serves as a useful tool for analyzing preservation needs and priorities by providing data on the numbers, types, condition, and location of historic ships still in existence in the United States. Since 1987, we have maintained the inventory. It is national in scope and includes, for the most part, vessels that are 50 years of age or older, over 40 feet in length, and greater than 20 tons.
Each inventory record includes data that describes the characteristics of a vessel as well as fields that incorporate standard terms for describing the vessel's past and present use and it's current disposition. The database contains records for ships that are awaiting preservation as well as those that are part of an ongoing preservation campaign. It also includes records of once preserved ships that have been lost or destroyed as well as those that have been, and continue to be, successfully preserved. Only those historic ships that are preserved and open to the public are included on these web pages.
The majority of the preserved vessels listed on this web site are no longer serving in their original occupations. Among these ships you can find former fishing schooners engaged in sail training, many U.S. Navy memorial ships, and World War II Liberty ships serving as operational museums. Still other vessels, including towboats and tugs, dredges and snagboats, square-rigged cargo ships and sternwheel passenger boats, have found new uses as floating museums, restaurants, theaters, and bed and breakfast accommodations. As well, many of these preserved ships are no longer located in their traditional areas of operation. Thus while you can still see preserved riverboats along the Mississippi, and freighters and fish tugs on the Great Lakes, you will also find a German u-boat in Chicago, a medium landing ship in Nebraska, and a destroyer escort in Albany, New York.
Please take the time to browse through these pages and enjoy the information they offer. We hope that you will find them to be a useful starting point for exploring ships and learning about maritime history.