Master Mariners of Canada

Who We Are

The Company of Master Mariners of Canada is a Member of The International Federation of Shipmasters Association


Who We Are and What We Do

The Company of Master Mariners of Canada nautical professional association with members serving in command at sea as well as members serving in management positions ashore in private and public sectors or as pilots, surveyors, practising law and teaching in nautical schools. This professional association has neither union affiliations, commercial intentions, nor political connections. Incorporated under the Corporations Act in May 1967, the Company’s principal objectives, as stated in its Letters Patent, may be summarized as follows:  to provide a representative, professional body for Canadians qualified to command merchant ships, to encourage a high standard of practical proficiency and professional conduct in officers of the Canadian Merchant Service,  to offer the experience and nautical expertise to Courts of Inquiry, Royal Commissions, government committees, and to be available for consultation on all matters affecting commercial shipping and the nautical profession.  to encourage and develop the education training of Canadian seafarers.  the business of the Corporation shall be carried on without pecuniary gain to its members and any revenues shall be used in promoting its objectives.


Collaborators, Beneficiaries, and Victims

The Company is a constituent member of the Canadian Maritimes Law Association (CMLA) and a member of the International Federation of shipmasters’ Associations (IFSMA). The latter organization has consultative status at the International Maritimes Organization (IMO). In collaboration with these organizations, the Company is actively supporting the IMO in its initiative to prevent victimization of seafarers through its Guidelines for the Fair Treatment of Seafarers. In the past several years a number of masters have, in several countries, been jailed without charge following a marine accident. The legal concept of “strict liability” may be applied in Canada, following a marine accident involving oil pollution. The penalties, possible seizure as legal hostages, faced by seafarers may have a negative effect on the growing shortage of experienced and dedicated ships’ officers worldwide. The current increase in marine accidents and insured losses may be reversed by the shipping industry’s investment in the human element, in recruitment, training and a focus on the retention of good career-minded people. Pollution, cargo damage, and losses in general may be prevented by such people.


Encouraging Discussion of Today’s Maritime Interests

Involved in national and international issues, the Company’s divisions continue to stage conferences and seminars, as well as members attending conferences and presenting papers. In 2005, the Maritimes Division staged an international conference, its theme reflected by its title, “Security of Ships, Ports and Coasts,” supported by IMO, the Nautical Institute, Classification Societies, port and shipping industries. The Vancouver Division presented, in Victoria that year, a table-top exercise entitled “The Master’s Dilemma.” It involved all those who would participate in a major marine emergency in that area. This theme was adopted in 2007 by the Great Lakes Division in an exercise in Hamilton in which participants responded to a major emergency in the Seaway System. Last year, the Newfoundland Division had an interesting one-day seminar on the Human Element in Shipping, well sponsored by shipping interests and levels of government. The Maritimes Division turned its attention to the Arctic in its seminars at Dalhousie University in December 2006,February 2008, and April 2009. The 2006 seminar focused on climate change and Arctic ice conditions, as well as Sovereignty and Security; the 2008 seminar focused on the challenges and the opportunities for shipping in the Arctic and for the people of Nunavut, who were represented at the seminar by a senior official of the Nunavut government, and the 2009 seminar had as its theme “Arctic Shipping: Planning for Emergencies”. . Here again, the human element was a major topic; the special training of crews for Arctic conditions, as well as damage control and survival following a major casualty. The Capital Division in Ottawa represents the Company at the CMAC conferences twice a year and reports on regulatory changes affecting shipping and seafarers, thus keeping the Company up to date. In 2011, CMMC conducted an international conference dealing with the environment in conjunction with hosting, for the first time in Canada, the Annual General Assembly of the International Federation of Shipmasters’ Associations.


Marine Education and Training for a Career in Shipping

Good-quality marine education and training is available at the four Canadian nautical schools with officer cadet programs. The Company is aware of the need to encourage excellence in training for the sea, and provides scholarships from the Capt. G.O. Baugh Memorial Fund, and in due course from its Foundation. Here is a quote from a serving Master: “The lack of investment in training and retaining personnel has reached the point that people have feared. However, I think there is a real future for the next generation at sea if we play it right with good leave and good salary. Ever more technically challenging equipment requiring good management and still plenty of practical skills requiring common sense are also big selling points to the ‘PlayStation’ generation. Some young people still want some adventure in their careers, however most are not even aware of a nautical career.” Canadians have to be informed of the importance to the nation of its shipping industry. Youngsters who would aspire to be the master mariners, shipping managers and pilots of the future must be informed that the sophistication of modern ships’ operating systems calls for a good high school education, an aptitude for learning and a willingness to gain personal maturity in a rigorous environment, often remote from the amenities and comforts of home.


On The Bridge

The Company’s affairs are directed by a representative executive council. Each of the eight regional divisions has its own governing council and its Divisional Vice President. The current National President is Captain Chris Hall (Fundy).  The National Vice-President is Capt. Christopher Connor (Maritimes), and the administration is headed by Captain Cynthia Brown (Maritimes) as Secretary and Captain Jack Gallagher (Maritimes) as Treasurer. The Company has a quarterly newsletter, and its affairs may be read on this website.