The National Mariners Association (NMA) was founded as a “limited-tonnage” merchant mariner advocacy and watchdog group to engage in the political process, primarily at the national level, to improve the safety, health and social stability of a group estimated to number 126,000 merchant mariners. The Association was active from April 15, 1999 through June 30, 2014. Although now inactive, this website continues to serve limited-tonnage merchant mariners by maintaining access to many historically significant reports, newsletters and other documents.
NMA was never a labor union. We did not organize workers within companies, or engage in collective bargaining as these were recognized as activities reserved to labor unions. We never competed with labor unions and always did our best to support them.
NMA was a non-profit maritime organization that welcomed all professional mariners whether military, commercial, or recreational. Founded by a group of dedicated and credentialed limited tonnage mariners, our aim was to provide a central forum and clearing house for communication and information where every mariner who owned, operated, or served on a commercial vessel could access maritime-related information and benefit from the shared experiences of fellow mariners through our web page at www.nationalmariners.us.
NMA addressed issues important to the safety, health and social stability of our mariners including marine safety, recruiting and advancement of qualified mariners, and the protection of the marine environment. The number of documents in our files reflects the broad range of our activities.
NMA also engaged with all concerned to promote the maritime industry as an attractive career. NMA advocated rulemaking and legislation beneficial to professional mariners, the maritime industry, and protective of the marine environment. Unfortunately, but in good conscience, we had to withdraw our support when activities in one or more sectors of the maritime industry became unsafe, unhealthy, or unattractive. When necessary, we cautioned mariners about certain aspects of the maritime industry that were dangerous, unfair, or needed correction.
National maritime unions always recognized that American merchant seamen are a vital part of our nation’s economy. Without their sacrifice and the hardships they endured our nation’s safety and prosperity would have suffered. In 1999, four major maritime unions recognized that many “limited-tonnage” merchant mariners were unable to enjoy the benefits of representation by organized labor. They created the Gulf Coast Mariners Association (GCMA) to showcase the benefits of organized labor and sponsored approved training programs for several years. GCMA, later re-named National Mariners Association studied and reported upon problems unique to all limited-tonnage mariners that often were overlooked during a broader time period from approximately 1970 to 2014. This is reflected in many of the offerings on our website that are accurately dated and are offered as historical documents.Today’s merchant mariners are called upon to sacrifice health, welfare, and family time by their service to their employers in particular and to a seagoing career in general. Our Association, although it has become inactive as a membership organization, maintains its charter and will continue to utilize its limited resources to maintain this website. We encourage those who benefit from using this website to make small contributions to help maintain its availability.