American Shipmasters Association Examination New York
Benjamin A. Sheldon
March -- 1873
Nautical Science & Seamanship
T. W. Ellison
Geo. W. Black
Note: The American Shipmasters' Association was organized in 1861 to improve the American Mercantile Marine Service and the general skill and moral character of those in the seamen's profession. Licenses had previously been issued intermittently by the United States Steamboat Inspection Service, but no continuous effort had been made until John D. Hones formed the American Shipmasters'Association in 1861. The Association was made up of maritime insurers, shipbuilders, government officials and maritime experts.
The ASA began issuing certificates to qualified mates and masters of sailing vessels receiving the first application from Captain Isaiah Pratt in September 1861.
To receive a certificate, seamen had to meet rigorous requirements, including six years experience at sea and a high score on the nautical science and seaman ship
examinations administered by the ASA. Applicants also had to produce testimonials to their good character.
Each certificate was valid for one year and could be renewed annually. Seamen retained their ASA numbers for life and a number once used was never reissued.
The ASA continued its program of certification until 1900, by which time Federal law required that most shipmasters be licensed by the federal governmentof the United States. It then became known as the American Bureau of Shipping.