Ship Registrations, 1787-1966

The Ship Registration, 1787-1966 (SRI) contains more than 78,000 entries of ships registered in ports of Canada between 1787 and 1966.

Vessel Type
Where Built
Port of Registry
Search: Database

About Ship Registration

Ship Registration (the documentation of ownership or title) was implemented in the late 18th Century to ensure that ships transporting goods in the British Empire were built and managed by British citizens, including citizens from the colonies. This system continues, but with different objectives.

Under the Canada Shipping Act, registration is required for all Canadian commercial vessels, including fishing vessels over 15 tons and all pleasure vessels, or vessels other than commercial, over 20 tons. Registration is carried out by the Marine Safety Directorate of Transport Canada.

Found at all Ports of Registry across Canada, shipping registers are generally large bound ledgers or, later, loose-leaf binders containing a vessel's official registration information.

Database

The Ship Registration Index Database (SRI) contains more than 78,000 entries of ships registered in ports of Canada between 1787 and 1966. It provides the following information:

  • the name of the ship
  • year of registration (YYYY-YYYY)
  • type of vessel
  • where the vessel was built (city/town/other; province/state; country)
  • date of construction (YYYY)
  • gross and net tonnage
  • remarks (mainly on the fate of the ship)
  • official number
  • reference for the physical registers or microfilm reels

In 1991, Library and Archives Canada (LAC) combined information from three finding aids: registration records, port records, and a listing of ships lost or sunk. The database entries are in the original language of the data and were not translated.

Hand-written physical registers are often difficult to read, so the database may contain spelling variations or inaccuracies. Prior to your search, we suggest you consult these lists for more precise searching:

Search Screen

The search screen enables you to search by:

  • Name of vessel
  • Year of registration
  • Type of vessel
  • Port of registry
  • Where built (province/state or country)
  • Official number

Results

Your search results will be displayed as a list containing the following fields. Click on the name of a vessel to view the Item Display.

  • Name of vessel
  • Year of registration
  • Type of vessel
  • Port of registry
  • Where built (province/state or country)
  • Official number

Item Display

The Item Display may contain the following information:

  • Name of vessel
  • Year of registration
  • Type of vessel
  • Port of registry
  • Where built
    • City/town/other
    • Province/state
    • Country
  • Date of construction (YYYY)
  • Gross tonnage
  • Net tonnage
  • Remarks
  • Official number
  • Reference record group
  • Volume
  • Complementary references (microfilm reel, old volume or volume)
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