The International Harbour Masters' Association is the professional body for those with responsibility for the safe, secure, efficient and environmentally sound conduct of marine operations in port waters. Worldwide there are approximately 3,000 merchant ports and the work of the Harbour Master can vary widely from country to country and from port to port, even within the same country. For this reason, the Association strives to bring together all those who hold a managerial position in aspects of the control of Marine Operations within a port or its approaches, whatever their job title. Furthermore, the Association seeks to develop and foster good relations between its members world-wide through its regular communications and meetings for members and by representing the professional views of its members internationally, regionally, and nationally. The International Harbour Masters’ Association also has non-governmental, consultative status at the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
Aims and Objectives
IHMA is the leading association dedicated to the needs of its members who hold managerial positions in marine operations and work in ports large and small, public and privately owned.
Not called a Harbour Master?
In different countries and languages, the Harbour Master may be known as the Capitaine du Port, Port Commander, Hafenkapitaen and so on, and the role normally associated with the title of Harbour Master may be undertaken by those described as their deputies as well as Marine Operations Managers, VTS Managers, Maritime Director, and there are many other titles. IHMA welcomes members who are not called Harbour Masters but work in port operations and may be at any stage in their career.
The aim of IHMA is to unite those responsible for the safe, secure, efficient and environmentally sound conduct of marine operations in port waters into one professional body to further the objectives of IHMA.
Consistent with its aim, IHMA's Objectives include:
- Promote the safe, secure, efficient and environmentally sound conduct of marine operations in port waters;
- Develop and foster collaboration and good relations among harbour masters world-wide;
- Represent the professional views of harbour masters internationally, regionally and nationally;
- Promote the professional standing and
- Collect, collate and supply information of professional interest to the membership
How do we achieve our objectives?
The Association strives to bring together all those who hold a managerial position in aspects of the control of Marine Operations within a port or its approaches, whatever their job title.
The Association seeks to develop and foster good relations between its members world-wide through its regular communications and meetings for members, and by representing the professional views of its members.
The Association has developed professional contacts with sister organisations within the Marine/Port Industry. We have Memoranda of Understanding with the International Maritime Pilots' Association (IMPA), International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA), The Nautical Institute (NI) and the World Association for Waterborne Transport Infrastructure (PIANC).
The Association has non-governmental, consultative status at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) and sends representatives to meetings which impact on the work of the Harbour Master.
Why become a member of IHMA?
Members of IHMA may have a role in some or all of the following: the safety of navigation, vessel traffic control, shipping movements, port management, protection of the marine environment, the ship-shore interface, safety management and training, and in port security. Through our professional expertise and experience we provide valuable advice and services to our members.
IHMA offers a wide range of benefits to its members. Some of these are provided free of charge whilst others are offered at discounted rates:
Access to Members’ forum
The members’ area of the Association’s website hosts an on-line forum where members can exchange information quickly and benefit from the knowledge and experience of other members. When a member posts a question, an alert email is sent to all members requesting a response. Posting an answer is quick and easy.
Access to the Secretariat
The Secretary is available to provide advice and information to all members.
The IHMA Congress, held every two years, offers a conference programme that presents quality professional papers on topical issues of direct relevance to members.
Congress provides a unique opportunity for members from around the world to discuss subjects of mutual concern and interest.
Congress is supported by an exhibition of the latest port and harbour equipment and services.
Members are eligible for discounted Congress and Seminar fees.
IMO, IHO and other projects
IHMA has observer status at IMO and IHO. Reports of the proceedings of IMO Committees are circulated to members and made available in the members’ only section of the website together with selected documents of interest to members.
Members are able to participate in IMO Working Groups and Correspondence Groups.
IHMA works to develop information and resources for its members, and the Association supports the participation of its members in these efforts in order to ensure that relevant information is developed and made available to members.
IMO Working Groups and Correspondence Groups
IHMA has observer status at IMO. Reports of the proceedings of IMO Committees are circulated to members and by arrangement, members are able to participate in IMO Working Groups and Correspondence Groups.
International Diploma for Harbour Masters - IHMA discount and bursary. Members are eligible for a 15% discount on the cost of the International Diploma for Harbour Masters run by Lloyd's Maritime Academy. In addition members are invited to apply for bursaries awarded by IHMA.
Members are able to participate in cutting edge research and the development of projects of direct relevance to harbour masters. This may be in partnership with other organisations.
Access to the IHMA’s Council
Members of IHMA’s Council are keen to engage with and offer support to members.
Free job advertisements
Members may advertise senior port operation positions free of charge on the IHMA’s website.
Meet the IHMA’s Women in Shipping
The IHMA is strongly committed to helping its Members achieve their professional potential, particularly it has been making a concerted effort to support its women members to achieve a representation within the ports industry that is in keeping with twenty-first century expectations. Here are just some of the IHMA’s women members who are helping to keep the ports of the world safe.
Ashley Nicolson, Forth Ports Group
Carita Rönnqvist, Port of Kokkola, Finland
Kgadi Matlala, Transnet National Port Authority
Silvina Bakardzhieva, Ministry of Transport, Bulgaria
About the Trinity House
The United Kingdom’s Trinity House is a charity dedicated to safeguarding shipping and seafarers, providing education, support and welfare to the seafaring community with a statutory duty as a General Lighthouse Authority to deliver a reliable, efficient and cost-effective aids to navigation service for the benefit and safety of all mariners.
For the benefit and safety of all mariners
The Corporation of Trinity House was incorporated by Royal Charter in 1514 to regulate pilotage on London’s River Thames and provide for aged mariners. With a mandate that has expanded considerably since then, we are today the UK’s largest self-funded maritime charity, the General Lighthouse Authority for England, Wales, the Channel Islands and Gibraltar and a fraternity of men and women selected from across the nation’s maritime sector.
Our long-standing familiarity with the channels, hazards, currents and markings of our coastline also qualify us to inspect and audit over 11,000 local aids to navigation, license Deep Sea Pilots and sometimes provide Nautical Assessors to the Admiralty Court.
Annually the maritime charity donates around £5m towards its charitable objects, including sponsoring cadet training, providing almshouses for retired mariners and funding educational programmes teaching safety at sea skills.
Safety at sea
Our mission as a General Lighthouse Authority is to deliver a reliable, efficient and cost-effective aids to navigation service for the benefit and safety of all mariners.
As the General Lighthouse Authority for England, Wales, the Channel Islands and Gibraltar, we provide over 600 aids to navigation to assist safe passage for vessels of all classes, from lighthouses and buoys to satellite-based systems.
As shipping lanes around the UK grow increasingly crowded and our demand for consumer goods rises, the safe transit of ships and seafarers is more important than ever.
Our work as General Lighthouse Authority is for the benefit and safety of all mariners and covers a sea area from Berwick-upon-Tweed on the north east coast to the Solway Firth in the north west, Gibraltar in the Mediterranean and the Dover Strait—the world’s busiest shipping lane.
Our lighthouses, buoys, lightvessels, beacons and electronic aids to navigation systems assist all mariners at all times and in all conditions.
At the business end of Trinity House we operate a fleet of vessels, working in our waters at the highest levels of seamanship: THV Galatea, THV Patricia and THV Alert. Coordinated and monitored around the clock by our Planning Centre in Essex, typical vessel activities include wreck location and marking, aid to navigation maintenance, towing, buoy handling and hydrographic surveying.
To ensure the safety of the mariner we take measures to make sure we can respond effectively should an incident occur, working closely with our partners at the Department for Transport and the MCA; we have a vessel ready to respond within six hours of the Dover Strait, carrying our instantly recognisable Emergency Wreck Marking Buoys.
A major theme of our long history has been the provision of education, welfare and support for mariners and their dependants.
The Trinity House Maritime Charity is the UK’s largest-endowed maritime charity, with a mandate to provide education, training and welfare for mariners of all ages.
This work is financed entirely through our registered charities, separate from our work as a General Lighthouse Authority.
Predating even the 1514 Royal Charter, our charitable duties emphasise training for prospective Merchant Navy officers and care for aged or distressed mariners and their dependants.
We also provide grants for many other maritime charities whose objectives align with our own.
Today, the charity disperses over £5 million to meet our goals; this includes providing almshouses for retired mariners and their dependants in Walmer, Kent and sponsoring cadets through the Merchant Navy Scholarship Scheme.
For centuries Trinity House has been an investor in skills and training, to ensure that our nation’s mariners are world class and our maritime industries are successful and sustainable.
"We sponsor 30 new Merchant Navy Cadets every year, training many on our own ships."
Our work as a General Lighthouse Authority is financed separately, from Light Dues levied on mainly commercial vessels calling at ports in the British Isles, based on the net registered tonnage of the vessel. Light Dues are paid into the General Lighthouse Fund under the stewardship of the Department for Transport.
The fund finances the work of Trinity House and the Northern Lighthouse Board (Scotland and the Isle of Man) and Irish Lights in respect of Northern Ireland.
Reduced running costs have allowed Light Dues to come down by 28% in real terms since 2010 — saving millions for the shipowner.
The Light Dues rate is set by the Department for Transport, not by Trinity House or its sister General Lighthouse Authorities.
Trinity House’s Maritime and Corporate charities are entirely self-funded by incomes derived from endowed funds — such as the Trinity Village estate in south London — and the letting of rooms at its Grade I Listed headquarters.
To find out more about Trinity House and our works as a General Lighthouse Authority and maritime charity, please visit our website, email a question to email@example.com or visit our YouTube channel to watch a series of short videos about the work we do and why we do it.
Subscribe to Trinity House’s Notices to Mariners and quarterly newsletter
Notices to Mariners provide essential up to date information and advice to those navigating within our area of jurisdiction.
To subscribe to these updates as well as our newsletter, news alerts and other updates, please visit www.trinityhouse.co.uk/subscribe
Follow us on Twitter at @trinityhouse_uk