10 Most Famous Ships

In maritime history, many ships have made their mark, some which sailed great distances or achieved remarkable accomplishments. Others are well known for what happened to them on their maiden voyages. We found this collection of the Top 10 Historic Ships of All Time on MarineInsight.com and thought we’d find some fresh pictures and share them with you here as well. See if you agree with these choices.

1. British Luxury Liner RMS Titanic: Easily the most famous ship in maritime history, this luxury passenger liner had a fateful inaugural voyage, striking  an iceberg and sinking in the North Atlantic on April 15, 1912.

2. Battleship U.S.S. Arizona: Destroyed by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941, this ship was left in ruins as World War II followed in its wake. The attack left 1,177 crew members dead out of 1,400.

3. German Battleship Bismarck: The largest and fastest warship afloat in 1941, the Bismarck challenged the British Navy and did a great deal of damage before it was sunk by the British.

4. Battleship U.S.S. Maine: On Feb 15, 1898 the ship exploded, though the cause of the explosion has never actually been determined.

5. HMS Victory: Once a ship in the French and Spanish navies and now serving as a museum in Portsmouth, England, the HMS Victory is one of the oldest ships still afloat.

6. Battleship U.S.S. Missouri: Surrender documents that announced the end of World War II were signed aboard, in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945.

7. U.S.S. Constitution: The U.S.S. Constitution is still afloat after 213 years and has been used as a museum since 1907 in Boston, Massachusetts.

8. U.S.S. Monitor and C.S.S. Virginia (aka Merrimack): Made famous by their hours-long battle in Hampton Roads, Virginia in March 1862, the Monitor and Merrimack went to battle for the Union and the Confederacy, respectively.

9. C.S.S. Hunley: On Febuary 17, 1864, the Hunley became the first submarine to sink a ship.

10. The Santa Maria: This Spanish ship crossed the Atlantic under Christopher Columbus on his voyage of discovery in 1492.

Have another ship in mind? We’d love to hear from you. Tell us below!


  1. Mark says:

    SS Minnow (Aw good buddy)

  2. David L Wyman says:

    What about the Bluefin sailboat in Nova Scotia? Can’t remember if it is the Bluefin 1 or 2. Still It’s on every Canadian Dime and was the fastest sailboat ever!

    David Wyman, Waubay SD
    Educated on the Bluefin’history in Alberta a few years ago.

  3. John Popp says:

    Davy Jones ship, the Flying Dutchman, Bon Homme Richard immediate come to mind.

  4. Jim Hoffacker -Dealer Sales BoatTrader.com says:

    You forgot (sunk) Noah’s Arc. (should be #2)
    …..and how about the Mayflower (Should be #3)
    Also forgot the Nina and the Pinta, (should be #5 and #6, just after the Santa Maria)
    …..and who could forget the MINNOW from Gilligan’s Island . Shame on you. ;-)

  5. Dutch says:

    I know it’s not “famous” but the image of the modern HMS Rose probably has been seen by more people than any other, given its appearance in so many feature Hollywood films. Most recent is “Master and Commander”, where she served as Captain Jack Aubrey’s HMS Surprise. People won’t realize how many times they have actually seen the Rose, just not under own name. I don’t have time to research how many and what films she’s actually been in, but I’m sure it’s more than 3 or 4. Multiply times the number of people who have seen the films, and voila! Famous! And deservedly so. She’s a beauty. I had the privilege of driving down the road in Port Royal, South Carolina, and spotting her in anchored in Battery Creek, off Port Royal Sound, snugged down for the night and just waking up, oh, @ 2004 or 05. I suspect she was going to start (or just finished) filming M & C mentioned above.

  6. James Fasino says:

    I think that you overloooked the U.S. submarines USS Thresher and USS Scorpion both lost at sea, with all hands, during the Cold War. In their time these disasters were as notorious as the space shuttle diasters of the 80s and 90s.

  7. Ashley says:

    The Titanic is defiantly the most FAMOUS ship in history, but there have been not-so-famous shipwrecks that had a greater loss of life.

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