National Historic Ships UK is a government funded, independent organisation which gives objective advice to UK governments and local authorities, funding bodies, and the historic ships sector on all matters relating to historic vessels in the UK. It is successor to the Advisory Committee on National Historic Ships, set up as a non-departmental advisory body in July 2006. In turn, that organisation followed on from the National Historic Ships Committee, which emerged from a seminar held in 1991 to discuss the problems facing the preservation of historic ships and vessels in the UK and the evident neglect of this important part of our heritage. National Historic Ships UK carries a wide remit, looking not only at the immediate issues concerning historic vessels in the UK, but also addressing questions relating to the support infrastructure for historic ships, their potential for contributing in the wider economic, social and community context, and maintaining a watch list of vessels abroad with potential UK significance.
The Shipshape Network, run by National Historic Ships UK, brings together historic vessel owners, skilled craftsmen, businesses, heritage organisations, training bodies and all those with an interest in Britain's maritime heritage and ship preservation. The Shipshape Network is about making contacts and forging partnerships so that results can be achieved which would not be possible on an individual basis. It also offers a marketing framework, highlighting maritime projects and vessel conservation schemes.
Since its launch in 2010, the Network has promoted key regions across the UK where there is a large concentration of skills, suppliers and historic vessels.