Fourteen ships and one shore establishment of the Royal Navy have borne the name HMS Merlin, after Merlin, the wizard in Arthurian legend (the shore establishment RNAS Donibristle, like the other Naval Air Stations in Scotland, was named after the sea bird):
- HMS Merlin was a 10-gun pinnance built in 1579 and listed until 1601.
- HMS Merlin was a 14-gun yacht launched in 1652 and captured by a Dutch squadron off Cadiz in 1665 while she was convoying victualing ships to Tangier; her resistance restricted the Dutch to capturing only four of her charges.
- HMS Merlin was an 8-gun yacht launched in 1666 and sold in 1698.
- HMS Merlin was a 2-gun sloop launched in 1699 and sold in 1712.
- HMS Merlin was a 14-gun sloop launched in 1744 and sold in 1750.
- HMS Merlin was a 10-gun sloop in service in 1753.
- HMS Merlin was a 10-gun sloop launched in 1756. She was captured by a French privateer in 1757, but recaptured later that year and renamed HMS Zephyr. The French frigate Gracieuse recaptured her in August 1778; she was disarmed and sold at Toulon in January 1780 for Lt44,200. The purchasers turned her into a privateer, which the British privateer Fame captured and burnt on 26 August 1780.
- HMS Merlin was a 16-gun sloop launched in 1757, having been purchased on the stocks. She was abandoned and burnt in 1777 after she grounded on a sandbank while attacking the fort on Mud Island in the Delaware River below Philadelphia.
- HMS Merlin was an 18-gun sloop launched in 1780, having been purchased on the stocks. She was sold in 1795.
- HMS Merlin was a 16-gun sloop launched in 1796 and broken up in 1803.
- HMS Merlin was a 16-gun sloop, previously in civilian service as Hercules. She was purchased in 1803 and sold in 1836.
- HMS Merlin was a 4-gun wood paddle packet launched in 1838 and sold in 1863.
- HMS Merlin was a composite screw gunboat launched in 1871 and sold in 1891.
- HMS Merlin was a Cadmus class sloop launched in 1901. She was used as a survey vessel from 1906 and was sold in 1923.
- HMS Merlin was an air station of the Royal Naval Air Service, at Donibristle, Fife. It was a former RAF station, but was transferred and commissioned in 1939, and was paid off in 1959.
- Hepper (1994), p.4.
- Hepper (1994), p.53.
- Demerliac (1996), p.71, #447.
- Hepper (1994), p.50.
- Colledge, J. J.; Warlow, Ben (2006) . Ships of the Royal Navy: The Complete Record of all Fighting Ships of the Royal Navy (Rev. ed.). London: Chatham Publishing. ISBN 978-1-86176-281-8. OCLC 67375475.
- Demerliac, Alain (1996) La Marine De Louis XVI: Nomenclature Des Navires Français De 1774 À 1792. (Nice: Éditions OMEGA). ISBN 2-906381-23-3
- Hepper, David J. (1994). British Warship Losses in the Age of Sail, 1650-1859. Rotherfield: Jean Boudriot. ISBN 0-948864-30-3.
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