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A Navy List or Naval Register is an official list of naval officers, their ranks and seniority, the ships which they command or to which they are appointed, etc., that is published by the government or naval authorities of a country.
The Navy List fulfills an important function in international law in that warships are required by article 29 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea to be commanded by a commissioned officer whose name appears in the appropriate service list.
Past copies of the Navy List are also important sources of information for historians and genealogists.
The Navy List for the Royal Navy is no longer published in hard-copy.
The Royal Navy (United Kingdom) publishes annual lists of active and reserve officers, and biennial lists of retired officers. The equivalent in the United States Navy is the Naval Register, which is updated online on a continuous basis.
Good sources of historical data on UK's Navy Lists are
The current editor of the Navy List is Judith Burke.