Conserve historical ships for future generations

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Average Income


per year


  • Expect around 7 years training
  • Be prepared to volunteer to gain experience
  • Working at height and outdoors

The purpose of a rigger on historic ships is to maintain their masts, yards and rigging, so they are safe, accurate and preserved for future generations. Riggers work as part of a larger team to make sure that historic vessels are maintained and operated to a high standard.

Riggers also talk with visitors at the dockyard about the conservation work being undertaken on the ships and explain why it is important.  They can speak with accuracy and credibility about conserving historic ships. 

To get a job as a rigger on historic ships, you would need:

  • Knowledge of traditional rigging and rigging maintenance
  • Knowledge of health and safety
  • Experience completing rigging maintenance on traditional vessels
  • Experience of working aloft
  • Passion for history and an enthusiasm for conserving traditional skills

Possible pathways to this job

Maritime Training Academy: Sails & Rigs, Sails and Rigs – Maritime Training Academy

UK Rigging: Training & qualifications, UK Rigging | How to Become a Rigger | UK Rigging

Information about the employer

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard (PHD)

PHD is the on the site of Britain’s first Royal Naval Dockyard, constructed in the late 15th Century to build, repair and refit ships. It’s now part of a working naval base, HMNB Portsmouth, and contains a number of museums and attractions, including HMS Victory and the Mary Rose Museum. 

PHD is primarily visitor attraction, with nearly 1 million visitors each year who come to see the historic ships, learn about the Royal Navy, take a boat trip across the Harbour and have a fun day out. Various different teams of staff make visits to the Dockyard possible, including Front of House staff, Historic Ships specialists (e.g. conservators, riggers and shipwrights) and curators. Jobs (historicdockyard.co.uk) 


The purpose of a rigger on historic ships is to maintain their masts, yards and rigging, so they are safe,...

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