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A Navy Directory, formerly the Navy List or Naval Register is an official list of naval officers, their ranks and seniority, the ships which they command or to which they are appointed, etc., that is published by the government or naval authorities of a country.


The Navy List fulfills an important function in international law in that warships are required by article 29 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea to be commanded by a commissioned officer whose name appears in the appropriate service list.[why?]

Past copies of the Navy List are also important sources of information for historians and genealogists.

The Navy List for the Royal Navy is no longer published in hard-copy.

The Royal Navy (United Kingdom) publishes annual lists of active and reserve officers, and biennial lists of retired officers. The equivalent in the United States Navy is the Naval Register, which is updated online on a continuous basis. When a ship is removed from the Naval Vessel Register in the United States, or from a naval list of any other country, the ship is said to be "stricken".[1] As of 2015, the Navy List has been renamed as the 'Navy Directory'.[2]


Good sources of historical data on the Royal Navy Navy Lists are:

  • The Naval Historical Branch, Portsmouth Naval Base.
  • The Central Library Portsmouth, Guildhall Square.
  • The National Archives, Kew, that has an almost complete set including unpublished editions produced during the Second World War for internal use by the Admiralty.
  • The Caird Library of the National Maritime Museum has in its collection bound monthly lists published by the Admiralty, and the concurrently published Steel's lists

The current editor of the Navy List is Cliona Willis.

See also


  1. ^ Edwards, Paul. Small United States and United Nations Warships in the Korean War, p. 37 (McFarland, 2008).
  2. ^ "The Navy directory 2015". amazon.co.uk. Royal Navy. 22 December 2016. Retrieved 28 July 2019. Previously known as Navy List. Containing lists of ships, establishments and Officers of the Fleet. On cover and title page: Compiled on the 1st January 2016


  • The 1766 Navy List, edited by E. C. Coleman, published by Ancholme Publishing, ISBN 0-9541443-0-9

External links

  • US Naval Register (US Navy)
  • Useful resources and information, includes latest Navy Directory (Royal Navy)