Our mission is to provide professional mariners and others involved with the maritime industry, a platform to collaborate in order to achieve safety on the waterways of the greater Chicago area.
We are a sector leader for the merchant mariner on the Chicago Harbor Safety Committee lending our unique and informed perspective to the discussion as safety related issues are debated across all sectors of our industry.
Relying on the experience within our membership and experts of the industry, we work to produce workshops and seminars for the working members on deck of the ships on our waterways.
Being part of an organization with over 130 years of history we work to preserve the traditions of the mariners of the Great Lakes. These are the traditions that bind us to those who came before us and to those who will come after us.
More than ever, it is time to focus on creating a larger, more engaged community by building partnerships with other nonprofits and partnering with community outreach groups.
Today's International Ship Masters' Association traces its history to Buffalo, NY where the Excelsior Marine Benevolent Association was formed in 1886, set up to provide financial assistance to the family of a deceased local captain. In addition to providing financial support to disabled members, or in case of death, to their beneficiaries, the organization provided educational opportunities for the improvement of navigational skill and allowed Great Lakes ship masters to have a voice in the formation of safety and navigation rules and regulations.
While ISMA no longer has a benevolent fund, we are still working to give back to our maritime community. As a nonprofit we work to put on programs that teach and inform about topics relevant to our industry. By hosting these events we put our mariner members in the room with the agencies that regulate us for productive conversations.
Our membership is comprised of mariners, active & retired, and those who support our industry. We are a social group that gathers throughout the year to discuss relevant topics, to network, and simply to raise a glass with and share some stories with those who share the same passion for this industry.
We invite you to join us with the following membership types:
Active Professional - An individual who currently holds a merchant marine credential recognized by the government of either the United States or Canada.
Retired Professional - An individual who holds or has held a merchant marine license recognized by the government of either the United States or Canada but is now retired from active service.
Associate - An individual who is associated with the maritime industry.
Cadet - an individual working in the maritime industry with aspirations of obtaining a maritime credential.
Our Annual Events
Our lodge works hard to organize events that highlight the traditions of our past and educate those working our waterways today. With a growing presence we are working to expand our mission into the larger maritime community and strive for the betterment of the mariner.
As we work to expand our reach into the maritime community, we are hosting a number of outreach events throughout the year.
Maritime Industry Day
Maritime Day &
The Blessing of the Fleet
A day long seminar that we organize and put on with members of local regulatory agencies to address changes in regulations and other pressing issues.
At the start of the season we bring everyone together for a BBQ at the Chicago Harbor Lock, including tours of Chicago Harbor Lock. All our welcome.
We gather together once a year to remember those who came before us and lost their lives to the waters of the Great Lakes and then hold a Blessing of the Fleet ceremony for all to participate in.
Summer Social Calendar
End of Season Party & Scholarship Fundraiser
Chicago's Christmas Ship
Business meetings take a back seat during our Summer. Members are invited to join us for brewery tours, golf outings, movie nights, and much more. This Summer calendar is wrapped up with a big BBQ at Crowletys.
We cap the season with a fundraiser for our scholarship held at the original Billy Goat Tavern.
Members of Lodge 3 were part of the group that founded this event which donates 1,200 trees each year to deserving families in the Chicago area. Our lodge continues to donate to this deserving cause and participate in the ceremony each year.
With the expansion of our Cadet level of membership comes an expansion of our education mission. We will now be hosting workshops aimed at supplementing the education they are getting on deck as they start their maritime careers.
Marine Diesel Engines - 101
Credentialed Engineer will lead workshop and discussion to demonstrate how diesel engines work and common problems that arise.
This hands on workshop will teach essential knots, splicing, and decorative rope work.
Our lodge awards 5 scholarships in 2 separate categories.
2 full scholarships for OUPV & Master class combo at Explorer's Guide Maritime Academy. For original captain credential only.
3 $500 reimbursement scholarships each year for those going after their first mariner credential or are continuing their education and adding onto their existing credential.
The deadline for applications is September 30th.
Here are a few of the requirements for our scholarship. Please click the application button below to see the full list and the application to apply for the scholarship.
Full scholarships at Explorer's Guide Maritime Academy are open to Cadet level members of Lodge 3 only.
Reimbursement Scholarships must be applied to USCG approved schools
Completion certificate must be shown to receive check
While you don't need to be a member of ISMA to be awarded the scholarship you will have to have a letter from a current member of ISMA in order to complete the application process.
We gather monthly to :
Discuss lodge business
Hear presentations or learn relevant skills
Discuss relevant topics on our waterways
And, of course, to simply enjoy each other's company. Feel free to bring some topics to discuss as we figure out ways to engage with our membership and the rest of the maritime community.
Meeting dates are tentative.
Winter Meetings start at 6 pm
January 9 - Columbia Yacht Club
February 13 - Columbia Yacht Club
Feb 28 - Industry Day Meet & Greet - 7 PM
Feb 29 - Industry Day - 8 AM