National Maritime Alliance

The United States was founded, and prospered, on maritime commerce. Tall ships, aids to navigation, waterside facilities, canals, and protection provided by the Navy were all instrumental in the rapid growth of the nation. Tall ships gave way to steam vessels, and transportation turned away from the sea to planes, trains and trucks. As the nautical way of life diminished, so did many nautical skills, historic vessels, and waterfront buildings.

In the summer of 1987, the idea to establish an alliance was proposed…an alliance of all who share the values and traditions of American seafaring…an alliance of those who would work together for the common good.

Formally organized the following year, the NATIONAL MARITIME ALLIANCE – with membership available to all – represents a diverse group including maritime museums, historic ships, lighthouses, canals, boat yards, boatbuilding and sailing schools, historic preservation groups, marine unions and businesses, and individuals. These organizations and persons all celebrate variations of a common tradition. Together they are the custodians of a maritime heritage that is as diverse as America itself.

The ALLIANCE represents a broad range of institutions. It also represents, indirectly, thousands upon thousands of individuals in every corner of the United States who are members and supporters of these institutions. This puts the ALLIANCE in the unique position of having a significant measure of influence – a measure that could not be matched by its members acting individually – as it works to bring about changes in public policy that will enhance the individual and collective efforts.

The ALLIANCE is committed to helping this country’s maritime artifacts, projects, and programs which have traditionally been underfunded. It recently coordinated a national effort which resulted in passage of federal legislation for assistance to the maritime heritage field. The National Maritime Heritage Act of 1994 was passed by Congress on October 8, 1994, and signed by the President on November 2, 1994. It is designed to provide an ongoing national competitive grants program for worthy maritime projects.

The Historic Naval Ships Association strongly supports the ALLIANCE objectives, and provided significant support for passage of the aforementioned National Maritime Heritage Act. The Association is an organization member and is represented on the ALLIANCE‘s Board of Directors.

Information on the ALLIANCE – its activities and how organizations and individuals may participate – can be obtained by writing to Director, Maritime Studies Program, East Carolina University, Eller House, Greenville, NC 27858, Phone 919-328-6097.