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.



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.


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

The Council of American Master Mariners, Inc.

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.

Declaration of Policy


Promote an effective, efficient, prosperous American Merchant Marine, which is of maximum benefit to the nation, the shipper,

the mariner, the shipowner and the financial community.


To render a public service by expressing the considered professional opinions of Master Mariners regarding maritime issues.


To encourage and promote advances in nautical education, training standards, and the publication

of professional literature for the American Mariner.


To cultivate an attitude of continuing education within the profession.


To foster and exchange of information between, and promote a spirit of friendship and common purpose among all organizations

whose member share dedicated to a strong United States flag merchant fleet.


To support and encourage improvements in all nautical facilities.


To enhance the rightful prestige of the American Master Mariner.

Why a Council of American Master Mariners? The answer can be found in the viability of an active, national, non-profit organization comprised of masters, pilots, and maritime professionals in an industry undergoing rapid and dramatic technological change. With reduced manning programs and ever increasing punitive regulations, the need for the Master's input into shipping policies and regulations has never been greater.


The Master is responsible for the ship and its safety, yet the ability of the Shipmaster to control his/her destiny has been seriously eroded. Modern ships are larger and more complex. Today's Master has little say in the selection of his officers and crew. He is often ignored in developing the regulations that effect his profession. Shipmasters and Pilots often find their views and opinions discounted and they are isolated from the fast-moving stream of progress.


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 an experienced but 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 means to be heard. As a member your voice is added to many others representing all types of vessels, cutting across company divisions and union affiliations. It is a voice based upon the prestige of the Master and backed by the collective expertise of over 20,000 years of maritime experience. 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 is in a unique position to supply  expertise to the industry for the public good. This was the intention of the founding members and it remains true today. The Council, represents a broad and diverse spectrum of experienced Master Mariners. Today the Council is revitalized and energized with a sense of purpose supported by the membership. It is not about enhancing your social life, It is about being heard and making a difference for the Merchant Marine, our nation, and ourselves.


If you are a Master Mariner, Pilot, or Maritime Professional you are welcome to join us in our endeavor to achieve the goals stated in the Declaration of Policy. They remain as valid today as they were in 1936.

Useful CAMM Related Links


Sidelights 2023 Issue


View from the Bridge

Captain Joe Hartnett: Russian - Ukrainian War Shows Need for a Vibrant U.S. Flag Fleet


In the Council

CAMM Member, Captain Richard Stewart, Awarded Merchant Marine Medal

Why Are Mental Health and Morale in Decline for Today's Seafarers?

Chapters Reports

2024 Maritime Day Celebrations


In the Industry

Keynote Speaker Captain Patrick Hilbert, USCG

Polar Navigation

Are Bridge Crews Ready If GPS Fails?

Sailing Toward a Sustainable Future

AGM Meeting Notes



News from IFSMA and IMO

IFSMA    Sercetary Generals's Report

 IMO       Bravery At Sea Award - Caleb Halle, USCG Rescue Swimmer


Download the  2023 Issue now. (PDF format, 5.4 MB)

Council NEWS!

         Merchant Marine Personnel Advisory Committee Needs Your Help


National Merchant Marine Personnel Advisory Committee is a Federal Advisory Committee committed to advising United States Coast Guard on matters which impact the Merchant Marine. They currently have 2 vacancies: 1. Credentialed Engineering member and 2. Credentialed Deck Officer or Pilot. The announcement and details can be found at


It is a great avenue for informing USCG on best current practices and guide them on where to improve policy, regulations, and training of Merchant Marine. You can find more information at







A Hit !

2023 Annual General Meeting

Professional Development Conference




Sailing the Seas in 2023



Heave Ho My Lads

WWII Merchant Marine Veterans

Receive Congressional Gold Medal

On May 20, at the Nautical Institute meeting in San Francisco a ceremony was held to award replicas of the Congressional Gold Medal to World War II Merchant Marine Veterans. Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA) was present to award the medals. The veterans were treated to a inspiring rendition of the Merchant Marine Anthem Heave-Ho. The anthem  was recorded by Madeleine Wolczko, the second officer of the President Wilson, who was stranded on the cargo ship in Shanghai.

Congressman John Garamendi presents the Congressional Gold Medal to a World War II Veterans.


Second Officer Madeleine Wolczko aboard the President Wilson in Shanghai. Click here to listen to her outstanding rendition of the

U.S. Merchant Marine Anthem Heave-Ho.


Replica of Merchant Marine Congressional Gold Medal

CAMM comments on MARAD'S EMBARC  (Every Mariner Builds a Respectful Culture) policy.


The below letter from CAMM was publicly posted on by the Maritime Administration in response to their request for public comments on EMBARC policy.



The Council of American Master Mariners

Restore Sea Year for all U.S.

Merchant Marine Academy Midshipmen

25 February 2022


The Council of American Master Mariners is committed to the education and training of future U.S.

Merchant Mariners.  The recent interruption of Sea Year for midshipmen at the United States

Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) is of concern to the Council. The Sea Year is needed for midshipmen

to complete their preparation for service as Navy Reserve merchant mariners in the Navy’s Strategic

Sealift Officer (SSO) force.  USMMA graduates comprise over 80% of the SSO force which crew the

cargo ships carrying 90% of military material to war fronts overseas.


The time spent during sea year on commercial cargo vessels provides essential training for

midshipmen aboard modern commercial ships.  Midshipmen are exposed to a variety of propulsion/power

plants while serving aboard highly specialized, military useful, ships such as oil tankers,

container ships, underway replenishment ships, RO-RO (roll-on-roll-off ) ships, and heavy-lift

ships. Sea Year is the only way to directly acquire expertise on these vessels while enabling

one-on-one training, an experience not replicated on training vessels.  The pool of graduates from

USMMA has experience on all of these vessels, thus providing the U.S. Government with a valuable

resource. In short, Sea Year is to Strategic Sealift Officer training what Flight School is to Navy

Aviator training.


In November 2021, the Maritime Administration (MARAD) suspended all USMMA at-sea training in

response to a sexual assault against a female midshipman during her Sea Year in 2019.  On 15

December MARAD issued their sea year training criteria – EMBARC (Every Mariner Builds A Respectful

Culture - ) . The EMBARC

policies replace earlier commitments made by vessel operators to comply with sea-year eligibility

requirements previously established by MARAD. The EMBARC plan is not perfect, it presents as a work

in progress.  The goal is to improve the prevention of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment (SASH)

in the merchant marine. The Council fully supports this goal and stands ready to assist MARAD to

make EMBARC workable for all stakeholders.


The Council recognizes that zero episodes of sexual assault and sexual harassment at sea is a

critical goal for our industry and continuous improvement must be made in support of that goal.

Both objectives – the sea year training of future SSO officers and the work towards zero SASH

incidents – must be accomplished simultaneously, one cannot be sacrificed for the other.


The Council’s view is that the re-integration of USMMA Midshipmen onboard all U.S. Flag commercial

vessels must occur immediately.  This will ensure an uninterrupted supply of trained SSO officers

to the U.S. Government. The future of U.S. Sea Power depends on it.


Captain RJ Klein Executive Vice-President

Council of American Master Mariners







CAMM Becomes signatory to the Neptune Declaration


7 May, Port Canaveral, FL:

At the 81st Annual General Meeting of the Council of American Master Mariners, the Council Membership voted to become a signatory of the Neptune Declaration. CAMM joins more tha 800 organizations that support the Neptune Declaration.


About the Declaration: Covid-19 has impacted the daily lives and wellbeing of seafarers in unprecedented ways, causing a humanitarian crisis at sea. Hundreds of thousands of seafarers have been stranded working aboard ships beyond the expiry of their contracts. As the frontline workers of the maritime industry carrying 90% of global trade, seafarers play a vital role in ensuring the global flow of goods that the world depends on.


The Neptune Declaration urges the implementation of four main actions to address the crisis:

• Recognize seafarers as key workers and give them priority access to Covid-19 vaccines

• Establish and implement gold standard health protocols based on existing best practice

• Increase collaboration between ship operators and charterers to facilitate crew changes

• Ensure air connectivity between key maritime hubs for seafarers


Click here to view the entire Declaration.


Did you know?



If you are a active seagoing Master and a member of CAMM, you are automatically a member of the International Federation of Ship Masters Association (IFSMA). CAMM pays your membership dues. This entitles you to contact IFSMA for support if needed. It is also your voice at IMO. Since 1975 IFSMA has had Consultative Status at IMO as a non-governmental organization (NGO). This allows IFSMA to represent the views and protect the interests of seagoing Shipmasters. Check out the link to IFSMA on this website for more information.

Quick Reference Member links

Why Become A CAMM Member?

If you are an actively sailing master, you are also a member of IFMA (CAMM pays your dues). This entitles you to all the benefits of being a member of IFSMA. Should you happen to be involved in a maritime incident outside of the United States, you can contact IFSMA for help and guidance.


Free subscription to Sidelights, the Council’s bi-monthly (4 issues a year).

Membership card and membership roster.


Representation at IMO through CAMM’s affiliation with the International Federation of Ship Masters Associations (IFSMA).

Access to a network of other master mariners through CAMM’s chapters, committees, Sidelights publication, and online presence.

Membership Eligibility


RU - Unlimited Master Mariner License who commanded vessels over 5,000 GRT on ocean voyages.

RP - Senior or First Class Pilot with minimum of one year experience on vessels 20,000 GRT or more.




S - Unlimited Master’s license but who has not commanded a vessel or vessels of over 5000 GRT on voyages.

SP - Second or Third Class Pilot on vessels less than 20,000 GRT.

S16 - USCG 1600 ton Master’s license who has commanded a vessel or vessels on voyages.

S5 - USCG 500 ton Master’s license who has commanded a vessel or vessels on voyages.




A - U.S. water transportation company in an executive, administrative or operational capacity, Military Equivalent of Master Mariner, Notable person in maritime related fields.

AL - Licensed Deck Officer with USCG license/credential, Any Gross Tons and currently sailing on vessels over 5,000 GT.

AC - Cadet: Any Cadet/Midshipman attending one of the state maritime academies or the US Merchant Marine Academy.

AF - Foreign Master Mariner: A person holding a foreign Master Mariners unlimited license who has commanded vessels over 5,000 GT.



Any member in good standing may apply for Life membership under the following conditions: retired from the maritime industry, over 70 years of age, and has paid total dues equal to or exceeding the amount required since joining the Council. Lifetime members shall retain rights and privileges of the membership class. Lifetime members are dues exempt. All lifetime memberships are subject to the Board of Governor’s approval.

Apply for membership consideration


Annual dues are $100. There is a one-time admission fee of $20.


To apply Online click Here


For paper form, see print and mail instructions below.


Print and mail in your application with a check

Download and fill out the PDF Application Form and mail with your check ($120)

and a copy of your license and last discharge to:


Captain Gussie Roth


3502 Prairie Drive

Dickinson, TX 77539-9316



To have the application mailed or emailed to you,

please send your request to the above address (include return address) or email Captain Roth

What CAMM Does For You

CAMM participates in the annual  Congressional Sail-In to lobby congress to support the US Merchant Marine.


CAMM is a member of IFSMA, which is in turn a member of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) of the United Nations. At present the US Maritime Industry - Merchant Marine is represented by two U.S. Coast Guard Officers in the IMO. Although the U.S. Coast Guard casts a vote in the IMO, that vote is controlled by the State Department - Not the Maritime Industry or Merchant Marine. CAMM’s membership in IFSMA provides its members a valuable voice in the IMO.


The expertise of CAMM members is well recognized throughout the world maritime community, resulting in frequent requests to CAMM to provide expert witness testimony in cases involving  a Licensed Deck Officer.


CAMM is working to change legal practice in the United States, in which a licensed mariner may be charged with a capitol offense, whereas an individual in command of a truck, train, bus, airplane, or other conveyance engaged in a similar accident is not subject to capitol punishment.


CAMM has take a Position to have  Vessel Inspections, Licensing and Documentation functions transferred from the Department of Homeland Security (USCG)  to a civilian agency such as the Department of  Transportation (Maritime Administration). Coast Guard resources are overwhelmed with Search and Rescue missions and Homeland Security issues, severely impacting their ability to handle these functions effectively.


CAMM is advocating that maritime accident investigation be turned over to the National Transportation Accident Investigation board because insufficient training of Coast Guard investigators results in unfair convictions.


CAMM is dedicated improving the U.S. Merchant Marine and the position of the licensed officers serving on the bridge.


CAMM is a strong supporter of the US Merchant Marine Academy and six state Maritime Academies where the best maritime education in the world is provided. We are also dedicated to improving maritime education and the skills taught to future officers.


CAMM works closely with professional mariner organizations  to protect the rights of licensed seamen from all nations.


CAMM constantly seeks ways to improve safety and environmental stewardship in ports, harbors, oceans, and other waterways around the world.


Triple CAMM’s Membership Drive

Effective January 2018, a current CAMM member who sponsors three or more new eligible, approved and paid members in a 12-month period will receive a CAMM Travel Mug. If you're not a CAMM member, and would like to become one, contact a CAMM member in your maritime community and ask them to sponsor you.






Captain Joe Hartnett, President

P.O.Box 700

Edgewater, MD  21037

PHONE: 410-382-5551



Captain Augusta Roth


3502 Prairie Drive

Dickson, TX   77539-9316


PHONE: 512-787-4056




The Council of American

Master Mariners, Inc.

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