— The Council of American Master Mariners, Inc. —

About CAMM

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Mission Statement:

The Council of American Master Mariners is dedicated to supporting and strengthening the United States Merchant Marine and the position of the Master by fostering the exchange of maritime information and sharing our experience. We are committed to the promotion of nautical education, the improvement of training standards, and the support of the publication of professional literature. The Council monitors, comments, and takes positions on local, state, federal and international legislation and regulation that affect the Master.

CAMM is a national professional organization of active and retired Captains, Pilots and Maritime Associates working for the betterment of the American Merchant Marine.

Established in 1936, the Council is independent of any union, school or company.

To learn why CAMM is necessary in the industry, please read further below.

To learn what CAMM can do for its members please read the Membership section of this website.

CAMM is a non-profit 501(c)6 corporation.


The Council of American Master Mariners, Inc. was founded in 1936 by a nucleus of distinguished American Shipmasters who felt there was a need to share their expertise with other shipmasters, the Maritime Community and the public. They were concerned with maintaining the standards and prestige of the American Merchant Marine and the Shipmaster. Their principles are set forth in the Council’s Declaration of Policy. They are:

Several of these principles are mirrored in other maritime civic organizations. Others, such as enhancing the prestige of the master, seem embarrassingly self-serving. Why then a Council of American Master Mariners?

The answer can be found in the viability of an active, national, non-profit organization comprised of nearly 1100 member masters and pilots. In an industry undergoing rapid and dramatic technological changed, constantly pressured by reduced manning programs and ever increasing punitive regulation, the need for the masters input in shipping appropriate policies and regulations has never been greater.

At the same time, with vessels that are ever larger, more complex and potentially hazardous, the ability of the ship master to control his/her destiny has need seriously eroded. A modern master has little say in the selection of his officers and crew. He is practically ignored in developing the regulations that effect his professional responsibilities and often considered too ‘old fashioned’ or ‘tradition bound.’ to be effective in formulating progressive company policy. A modern shipmaster and/or pilot can find his views, his voice, ignored and isolated from the fast-moving stream of ‘progress.’ Yet the responsibility of the ship and its safety will never leave his side.

The voice of a single master is easily overwhelmed by the tide of change. At best, the outspoken master may be seen as an individual with a single, albeit experienced, self-serving point of view. At worst, he or she may be perceived by their employer and others as a ‘trouble-maker’ or lacking in ‘team spirit’ if their views do not reflect the company goals. The stand-alone, say-what-I-think master may have the courage of his convictions, but he or she is rarely effective.

CAMM offers a channel to be heard. As a member your voice is added to more than a thousand others representing all vessel types, cutting across company divisions and ignoring union affiliations. It is a voice based upon the prestige of ship command and backed by the collective expertise of over 20,000 years of maritime experience.

But was good are these voices if no one is listening? The greatest irony of our industry is that the maritime community and its regulatory agencies recognizes the importance of the masters’ opinion. They sincerely wish to avail themselves of that maritime expertise, but generally have reservations in accepting such help from labor lobbyist groups or individuals.

The Council of American Master Mariners, Inc. finds itself in a unique position to supply that expertise for both the industry and the public good. This was the intention of the founding members and it remains true today. The Council, representing a broad and diverse spectrum of master mariners, as well as experience, is respectfully listened to.

If you are a master mariner or pilot, you are welcome to join us in this endeavor. Our goals, as stated in the declaration of policy, remain as valid today as they were in 1936. Today the Council is newly revitalized and energized with a sense of purpose supported by the membership. It’s not about enhancing your social life. It’s about being heard. It’s about making a difference for ourselves, the Merchant Marine, and our nation.