"A good Navy is not a provocation to war. It is the surest guaranty of peace."
Theodore Roosevelt (1902)
Last update: 26 January 2024
Navbase is an interactive database of all major warships that have been in active service from the start of World War II until today. All of the major world navies are included and work is ongoing to expand the number of countries covered. Currently, Navbase has in its registry all warships of over 1,000 tons displacement as well as smaller ships from major combat types that have served since World War II from over two dozen navies (over 19,000 ships in total). Additionally, Navbase provides a calculation of tonnage totals as this is widely considered to be the most accurate comparative measure of a navy's strength. Ship service data has been collected for a wide variety of authoritative written and online sources (see the resources link for a full list) and every effort has been made to include data accurate to the day. Nevertheless, corrections and comments are welcome via the forum. Please also note that the information provided through Navbase is entirely free for personal use but, like all pieces of research, should be properly referenced if published elsewhere (see reference example below).
If this is your first time using Navbase, please read through the following:
1) A ship is considered active if it is in commission. Given that navies have different states of readiness, this can create some confusion. Decommissioning is considered the date at which a ship is no longer active. However, not all navies (including some large ones like the Royal Navy) offer reliable decommissioning dates. When a ship has been paid off or placed in reserve this will usually be assumed as the decommissioning date if the ship was never in active service again. However, a ship will appear on the database if it has been recommissioned at a later date, although only prolonged periods of inactivity will result in a break in continuity of service. When there is no data on commissioning, then the date of completion or acceptance by the navy is taken. When there is no data on decommissioning, the date in which a ship was stricken from the naval register will be used. When even this does not exist, the date of its scrapping or sale for scrapping (preferred if available) will be used as a last resort. Ultimately, be warned that there is some degree of inaccuracy for certain navies during certain periods of time but overall the results should be a highly accurate reflection of the state of each navy at any given date.
2) Ships are not listed as active once they have been converted to a non-combat or auxiliary role even if this has been long before their formal decommissioning. This includes ships used for training purposes as it is possibly that they may have been fully or partially disarmed. However, ships that return to active service after training are assumed to have retained their combat capability.
3) A ship will be included in the list if its commissioning date is before the chosen date and if the decommissioning date is on or after it. This means that a ship commissioned exactly on the chosen date will not appear; it will appear only the day after. This is in order to represent the order of battle at the start of the day rather than at the end. For dates that correspond to naval battles this is important as otherwise ships sunk during the day would not appear.
4) A full selection of mine warfare and auxiliary ships have not been added to the database and given the difficulty in constructing a historical record of them (particularly auxiliary ships), it is highly unlikely they will ever be added. As such, it is strongly recommended that tonnage totals not be quoted with these ships selected as the list is far from complete. Currently the only such ships in the database are those which have been converted from other combat types or which would later be converted.
5) Note that naval figures quoted in most sources for the Royal Navy up to WW2 include those of the Commonwealth as well. A 'British Commonwealth' option is included in the country list and users are encouraged to use this for all WW2 dates.
6) The year shown for each ship in the database is the launch date rather than the commissioning date. This is to avoid transferred ships from appearing newer than they are since they will have a more recent commissioning date.
7) Most ships are classified on the basis of their national designations except in cases where these designations are misleading; whether purposely or otherwise. Russian ships are usually classified on the basis of role rather than size (like most Western ships), which presents some complications in which case the generally agreed Western equivalent classification is used. Note that many ships were modified throughout their lifetime and will therefore appear with different classifications at different dates.
8) Large, combat-capable patrol ship classes for major coast guards are included in the main lists. However, they are listed seperately from the main navy lists in a menu item 'Coast Guard'. This is in order to represent the fact that these are separate institutions and that many of these ships, while often large, have reduced warfighting capability.
9) Ships that have been transferred from other navies have a blue double-dagger symbol (‡) next to their names.
2024 Update Notes:
a) All dreadnought battleship classes have been added even those which were out of service before World War II. You can now do a search for ships since the start of World War I although aside from dreadnoughts and classes that participated in World War II, the lists are incomplete (recommended to just select Capital Ships). An option to eliminate pre-dreadnoughts and monitors has been added to facilitate dreadnought comparisons.
b) New country additions: Austria-Hungary (sole dreadnought class only).
c) Updated all subclass names for consistency. These are now referenced to as Class (Subclass) and for transferred ships as Local Class / Class (Subclass).
2023 Update Notes:
a) New country additions: Myanmar and Qatar. Updated coast guards which had not been updated since they were added in 2020.
2022 Update Notes:
a) New country additions: Morocco and United Arab Emirates. A few missing ships for the post-war era for minor navies have been incorporated.
2021 Update Notes:
a) New country additions: Oman and Yugoslavia. Numerous smaller navies have their ships lists updated to the beginning of World War II (Denmark, Norway, Thailand). All navies on the list should now be accurate from 1 September 1939 onward.
2020 Update Notes:
a) New country additions: Algeria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Ecuador, East Germany (at the bottom of the list where other former countries like Yugoslavia will eventually be added), Poland, and Romania. Additionally, three new multi-navy selections have been included: NATO and the Warsaw Pact, as well as an All option which includes every ship in the registry, including from countries that are not on the list.
b) Coast Guards have been added for most nations that have at least one 1,000-ton armed (over 76-mm guns or helicopter) ship in their ranks. Due to lack of information on each individual class, all Chinese coast guard ships are lumped under a single entry.
c) Ships in reserve or refit are now no longer included in the main navy lists. There is now option to include them although this is ticked off by default. This only applies to ships that were returned to service at a later date.
d) Tons of bug fixes!
Aguilera, R. (2023). NavBase: The Naval Database. [online] Available at: http://www.theworldwars.net/navbase [Accessed on -insert date-]
Cover: Wood, Frank Watson (1921). Atlantic Fleet Capital Ships [Watercolor]. Retrieved from Maritime Prints