The Foundation’s purpose and origin

Against the background of a Cold War still at its peak and the looming Falkland conflict, there was a feeling amongst mariners that if no action were taken to protect Britain’s maritime industries, there would soon be little left of the Royal Navy, the British Merchant Marine or the fishing fleets and their supporting infrastructure.

This concern was heightened after the demise of the Board of Trade with its crucial role of coordinating the maritime responsibilities of government departments in the general promotion and overseeing of Britain’s international trade.

In consequence, it led senior retired naval officers, leading shipowners and prominent City figures in the maritime field to form the Maritime Foundation.

What we do

The Maritime Foundation promotes Britain’s interests across the entire maritime sector. Its purpose is to inform and raise public and parliamentary awareness of the importance of Britain’s maritime industries, commerce and defence through education, training and research, as well as through the Foundation’s annual Maritime Media Awards.

Maritime Media Awards

The Maritime Media Awards were launched in 1995 by the Maritime Foundation to honour journalists, authors and others whose work in the media has served to create greater public understanding of maritime issues, and of Britain’s manifold dependence on the sea.

The Desmond Wettern Award for Best Journalism commemorates Desmond Wettern, naval correspondent of the Daily Telegraph and founder member of the Maritime Foundation and his dedication to the belief that Britain’s economic wellbeing and security are inextricably bound up with the sea.


The Maritime Foundation has published a wide range of reports on the need for a coherent maritime policy, including major studies on the British merchant fleet and its linkages, defence matters, marine leisure, shore-based infrastructure, maritime skills, and their contribution to the nation’s economy.

Browse our extensive publications section