Explanation of the ship summary page

When you have made a Ship Search you will see a page of results like the example below.

Ship (at the top of the page e.g. Admiral Gardner)

That's the easy bit. It's the name of the ship. Really we should say 'vessel' here, because not all vessels are ships (see the note about Rig, below). But we are using this in the everyday sense, otherwise you might think this page was about a person called Admiral Gardner.

ID (e.g. 815)

This ID number is used only on this website to identify this ship. It's useful when there are ships of the same name which you wish to distinguish between. The ID is not linked to any numbering system used elsewhere.

example of a ship summary page


This is the year ship was constructed. This may or may not be the same year as the year of launch, but the build date has to precede the launch date.


This is the sail rig of the ship. It is the answer to the question "what type of ship is it?" and the answer will be that it is a Ship, Barque, Brig, Schooner, Ketch, and so on. Sailing ships are categorised according to the type of sails they carry and the number and arrangement of the masts.

Most of the East India Company vessels in these lists are Ships, that is, they have three masts and are often referred to as full-rigged ships. The EIC mostly employed these vessels as they would stand up to long distance ocean voyages, and were sturdily built to withstand rough seas. However, there are some smaller EIC vessels which you will see described as some other rig, for example, a Pinnace.


This box contains an abbreviation for the kind of arrangement by which the ship was employed in the East India Company. This list of abbreviations and what they stand for is also shown at the top of each of the search results pages.


Chartered Ship

For an explanation of what these mean, see the ship role page


Country Ship


Extra Ship




Licensed Ship


New Company Ship


Regular Ship


Packet Service


The tonnage of the vessel, which usually gives a rough indication of how large it is (the bigger the tonnage, the larger the vessel). Tonnage was measured in several different ways.

It is interesting to note that the 'declared tonnage' of an East India Company ship was often different to its actual tonnage. In the case of ships which were said to be of 499 tons, this was specificaly to avoid the necessity of carrying a chaplain on board for a voyage (chaplains were required on vessels of 500 tons and above). Where possible, the actual tonnage of ships is given on this website.

EIC Service Period

This shows the years between which the vessel was employed on service for the East India Company. Unlike many other East India companies, the EIC owned few ships of its own, chartering what it needed instead, often on a longterm basis, but sometimes using ships for a single voyage when business required it. The EIC service period, therefore may represent only a proportion of a ship's total period afloat.

Note that the years indicated here are the actual period of service. Many sources refer to ships by 'seasons' e.g. 1773/4 or 1801/02, and indeed the EIC tended to refer to its ships in this way. However, this is not always helpful: a ship in the season 1773/4 might not actually set sail until late 1774, and might not return until 1775. If you are trying to work out if a particular person was aboard, or what ports the vessel called at, it is clearer to have the actual dates, which is what I have used on this website.

EIC Voyages

The total number of voyages undertaken by this ship for the East India Company.


Approximate number of crew. The number could vary from voyage to voyage.


Number of guns carried. East India Company mercantile ships were defensively armed.


The name of the shipbuilder.

Where Built

Place where vessel was built.

Date of Launch

Exact date of launch, if known.

Dimensions and Construction

Details of the build of the vessel.

Ship History

This section provides details of the main events in the vessel's history, from launch to ultimate fate (including wreck, capture, or sold for breaking up). It provides details of service with the East India Company and also other trading activities.

East India Company voyages and captains

For each of the voyages undertaken for the East India Company, the start and finish years are given, together with the name of the captain.

Ship Owners

Name of shipowners with period of ownership, if known. Both individual and corporate shipowners are shown, where appropriate.

Note that individual shipowners were often known as 'ship's husbands' in contemporary terminology. He (or very occasionally, she) was the principal managing owner of a syndicate of owners who all had shares in the vessel.


Details of bibliographic and other reference sources for this ship. Page numbers and specific references are given where possible.

External Links

Links to other pages of information on this website (including contributions by others) as well as to external websites.