Propeller Club News

International Propeller Club Promotes Relationship with Congress on Behalf of Maritime Industry

February 15, 2019

WASHINGTON - June 6, 2019 -- In his role as the new Executive Vice President of the International Propeller Club of the United States (IPCUS), John Cullather, is setting a course for the 50 American-based clubs, specifically, that involve streamlining and improving communication between ports and maritime policy issues and members of Congress.

"Congress has played a vital role in U.S. ports since the founding of our nation," says Cullather. "From the dredging of our harbors to the construction of lighthouses and the installation of aids-to-navigation, members of Congress have an enormous impact on maritime interests from coast-to-coast."  Cullather is already cultivating material for member clubs in an effort to help streamline that communication between member ports and their Congressional representatives.

John Cullather was introduced to maritime industry executives on May 1, 2019, when the International Propeller Club of the United States held its 35th Maritime Industry Salute to Congress Dinner at the Army Navy Country Club in Arlington, Virginia. This year's award, presented by Rear Admiral Joel Whitehead, U.S. Coast Guard (Ret.), President of the Club, was given to the Honorable Cedric Richmond (D-LA).

U.S. Representative Cedric Richmond (LA-02) serves as co-chair of the Congressional Maritime Caucus, a caucus he founded in 2013 with Michael G. Grimm (NY-11). The Caucus raises awareness among members of Congress on a broad range of maritime-related topics.

Representative Richmond spoke of the maritime industry's enormous contribution to the national economy in playing the vital role of connecting people, goods and information worldwide. He reported that daily the industry facilitates trade and commerce, creates jobs, helps secure our borders, provides energy resources, supports our military and serves as a steward of coastal resources. Onshore, the industry is supported by all manner of professionals in fields such as law, insurance, logistics, dredging, ship repair, security, environmental science, engineering, management, and workforce training.
Propeller Club members and guests were called to dinner by the rousing herald trumpets of the United States Merchant Marine Academy cadets who came down from Kings Point, New York for the event.

"In addition to supporting our U.S.-based clubs with legislative tools and support, we are developing a strategic plan," says Cullather. "One of the fundamental goals of that plan is to increase membership worldwide - and help the future leaders and maritime employees understand how being a member of the International Propeller Club will help them professionally as well as help their community." Local clubs, in the global network hold professional conferences, networking events and charitable activities.

"Many of our local clubs raise funds for scholarships and other needs in their community. This work needs to be supported and recognized," says Cullather. "We are now promoting these efforts on our web site and are hopeful that this will result in further philanthropic activities throughout the maritime community – both in the United States and overseas."

"The maritime industry impacts virtually everyone in the United States – from the farmers in Iowa to the person watching their television in Denver," Cullather says. "Our goal is to make sure that the maritime community includes not just the obvious members, such as those who work at ports, but those who ship goods using the maritime transportation system."

"We are fortunate to have a longtime maritime expert directing the day-to-day operations and direction of our international network of commercial maritime clubs," says President of the Propeller Club, Joel Whitehead. "John has been recognized with numerous awards including The Distinguished Public Service Award from the U.S. Coast Guard, The Samuel Plimsoll Award in 2015 from the editors of Professional Mariner Magazine, and The President's Award from the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators. We look forward to great things ahead for the Propeller Club and member ports and their members."

The IPCUS is grateful to the sponsors of its 35th Annual Salute to Congress whose contribution made the event possible: USA Maritime; American Maritime Congress; American Maritime Officers; American Maritime Officers Services; American Waterways Operators; American President Lines; Associated Branch Pilots; Crowley; Euro-American Shipping & Trade; Jones Walker, LLP; K & L Gates; Marine Engineers Beneficial Association, District No. 1; Masters, Mates, and Pilots; MIRAID; Propeller Club Port of Baltimore; Seafarers International Union; Transportation Institute; Louisiana Maritime Association; Port Ship Services; New Orleans-Baton Rouge Steamship Pilots Association; Harbor Towing Star Fleet; Propeller Club Port of New Orleans; Propeller Club Port of Tacoma; and the Propeller Club Port of Tampa.

# # #


International President Joel Whitehead made a number of visits to Club Ports in the U.S. and abroad in late 2018, meeting with local and regional leaders of the Club. Reports about those visits are below.

Louisville and the Ohio Valley Region 
In November, at the invitation of Ohio Valley Regional Vice President Maria Conatser, President Whitehead and his wife Martha traveled to Louisville, Kentucky. At the famous Captain’s Quarters restaurant (how appropriate!) he met for lunch with the leadership of several Ohio Valley Propeller Club Ports and the officers of the Port of Louisville. Over lunch, there was a broad-ranging conversation about the goals of the International Propeller Club, how to obtain and retain new members, and other issues facing individual Ports. At a dinner meeting of the Louisville Propeller Club at the Louisville Knights of Columbus Hall, President Whitehead thanked the Port for their invitation and discussed several items of importance to the inland river ports including the implementation of Sub-Chapter “M” (the inspection by the Coast Guard of previously uninspected towing vessels), passage of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2018 and its significance to river ports. He mentioned the American Waterways Operators new panel on barge safety and concluded with how the Propeller Club’s “Statement of Principles” links so well with these local issues. It was a very enjoyable evening with great attendance by the very active Port of Louisville.

Tampa, Port Manatee and the South East Region 

Just before Christmas, President Whitehead traveled to Tampa, Florida to meet with South East Region leaders as well as the leadership of the Ports of Tampa Bay and Port Manatee for a morning round table discussion. Over fifteen regional leaders attended and participated in a broad-ranging discussion on International Club management, communications ideas, and the necessity for the recent international dues increase. The meeting was felt to have been exceptionally productive and set the stage for the Port of Tampa’s Holiday Luncheon which was in tribute to the Tampa Seafarer’s Center. President Whitehead addressed about 150 attendees and discussed the history of the International Propeller Club and Headquarters initiatives such as the new Strategic Planning and Corporate Sponsorship Committees. He also touted the induction of new member ports including the Port of Lugano, Switzerland, and Student ports at Texas Southern University in Houston; Northeast Maritime Institute in Fairhaven, Mass.; and Kaiser University in Florida. Over 100 gifts, ranging from toiletries, books, hats, and jackets were donated at the luncheon for seafarers who come to the port of Tampa.

Piraeus and the AMVER dinner

At the invitation of Port of Piraeus President C. Xiradakis and Regional Vice President Dr. Kostas Rokkos, President Whitehead and his wife Martha visited the Port of Piraeus in October, in conjunction with their annual AMVER Search and Rescue Awards ceremony. AMVER is the U.S. Coast Guard’s Automated Mutual Assistance Vessel Rescue program which is a worldwide search and rescue system involving more than 20,000 commercial ships from most maritime nations. The annual AMVER Award dinner hosted by the Port recognizes Greek mariners who participated in voluntary search and rescue efforts resulting in the saving of life at sea. 

Pres. Whitehead addresses AMVER dinner in Athens.

Pres. Whitehead and the Piraeus Board of Governors.

The 2019 AMVER dinner in Athens was attended by over 1,000 persons including the U.S. Ambassador to Greece, Mr. Geoffrey R. Pyatt. The theme of this year’s award ceremony was “It’s in Our DNA: Dedication, Navigation, Acceleration.” Special Rescue Awards were presented to twelve companies who collectively rescued 69 persons at sea since the last awards. Over 200 Greek shipping companies with over 1,800 vessels under their management participate in AMVER.

Before the spectacular event, Joel and his wife Martha enjoyed the wonderful hospitality of the Greek shipping community including a dinner with the Port of Piraeus’ Board of Governors, and a working luncheon with Greek shipping executives at the Piraeus Yacht Club. They also toured the offices of Tsakos Shipping Company, one of the largest Greek shipping companies and had lunch with its founder, Captain Panagiotis Tsakos and other Tsakos executives. Captain Tsakos was also given special recognition at the AMVER Awards Dinner when he was honored for his continued efforts to maintain and promote the Hellenic maritime heritage and for the founding of the Lyceum for Maritime Studies, the Tsakos Enhanced Education Nautical School on the island of Chios.

Strasbourg, France
While visiting Germany on personal business after visiting Piraeus, President and Mrs. Whitehead were warmly welcomed by Port President Jean-Marc Uhrweiller and the Board of the Propeller Club of the Strasbourg, France, including VP Cristiane Metzger, Treasurer Amélie Arnaudon and Gilbert Kistner. Also, in attendance was Kara C. McDonald, the Consul General of the United States of America in Strasbourg for the Great East region in France and Deputy Permanent Representative to the Council of Europe. Their hospitality was greatly appreciated and they had a wide-ranging discussion of maritime issues during which Consul General MacDonald stressed the importance of the Propeller Club of Strasbourg in helping her with maritime issues.

Pres.Whitehead (right) with Port of Strasbourg leaders.


2018 Convention held in Norfolk

The 2018 International Convention of the Propeller Club, held October 10-12 in Norfolk, Virginia, brought together Propeller Club members and maritime industry leaders from around the world.  

Attendees heard from prominent industry speakers on topics such as Intermodal Connectivity, the Future of Shipping, and Building and Maintaining the World's Largest Navy. Luncheon speakers were John Reinhart, the CEO and Executive Director of the Virginia Ports Authority, and Captain Kevin Carroll, USCG, who commands the Coast Guard's Sector Hampton Roads. Their remarks, as well as a Wednesday night cruise on the Spirit of Norfolk, provided a detailed picture of the region's maritime industry and plans for future development.

Each year, we welcome students from maritime academies across the country.  A session on Maritime Career Opportunities provided an opportunity for students to hear from panelists from various maritime fields, who shared their experiences and ideas about potential career paths. 

2018 student attendees of the International Convention are pictured with Maryanne Richards,
International Vice President 
for Student Ports (4th from right).

In addition to the excellent presentations, attendees enjoyed a tour and oyster roast at Norfolk's Nauticus museum, where we were joined by members of the Propeller Club Port of Norfolk, and the convention closed with the traditional black-tie optional gala dinner on Friday night. 

Pictures of the convention activities are available online. We are grateful to the 2018 hosts, the Club's Port of Norfolk chapter, for their hospitality and hard work.

2018 international awards presented to Bardet, Moye

Patricia Bardet
2018 International 
Member of the Year

Art Moye
2018 International
Maritime Person of the Year

Each year since 1984, the Propeller Club has given awards for outstanding leadership and support of the Club and the maritime industry, which are presented at the Annual Convention. This year, two outstanding individuals were honored for their service:

  • The International Member of the Year honors service to the Propeller Club.  The 2018 honoree was Patricia Bardet, long-time president of the Propeller Club Port of Marseille-Fos, France.  In addition to serving her local Port, Patricia has long been involved in Club activities in Europe; she currently serves as vice president of the North and Central Europe region, and previously served as treasurer of the European Association of Propeller Clubs (EAPC).
  • The Maritime Person of the Year recognizes service to the maritime industry at large.  Art Moye, who recently retired after many years as Executive Vice President of the Virginia Maritime Association, received the 2018 award. In addition to his work on behalf of VMA members, Art has long been an active member of the Club's Port of Norfolk, and served as the conference chairman for the 2018 convention.

Lists of past honorees are available on the Awards page of our website.

2018 Convention photos

January 25, 2019

A photo gallery with more than 70 images of the 2018 Convention is now available on this site or on Facebook.

Club leaders for 2018-2019 were installed
at the 2018 International Convention.


2018 Salute to Congress photos

July 25, 2018

A photo gallery with almost 100 images of this year's Salute to Congress is now available on this site or on Facebook.

Visit MaritimeTV tview the Salute online, including the remarks of our 2018 honoree, Representative Rob Wittman (Virginia).  

2019 Salute to Congress
Please mark your calendars for May 1, 2019, the date of the 35th annual Salute to Congress dinner, to be held in Arlington, Virginia. More information will be on this site in early 2019.


Rep. Wittman is 2018 Salute to Congress recipient

March 26, 2018

wittmanofficial.jpgThe Honorable Rob Wittman (Virginia) will be the honoree at the Propeller Club’s annual Salute to Congress dinner, to be held on May 16 at the Army Navy Country Club in Arlington, Virginia. 

The Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces, Rep. Wittman will be recognized for his support of the United States maritime industry.  Throughout his service in Congress, Chairman Wittman has been an advocate for the many components of a strong domestic maritime industry.  He understands the importance of a vibrant U.S.-flag fleet to the nation’s economy and security.  He was a founder of and co-chairs the Congressional Shipbuilding Caucus because he recognizes the important role of American shipyards and the associated industrial base in maintaining a strong maritime economy and in national defense.  He is a strong advocate for the Jones Act, the Maritime Security Program, cargo preference, and other laws that are essential to the United States Merchant Marine.

“Representative Wittman has certainly earned the Salute to Congress honor with his outstanding support for the U.S. maritime industry,” said the President of the International Propeller Club of the United States, Rear Adm. Joel Whitehead, USCG (retired).  “We look forward to thanking him for that support. We are grateful for his leadership of the Seapower subcommittee and of the Shipbuilding Caucus.”

The Propeller Club’s Salute to Congress is the maritime industry’s most prestigious and anticipated annual event in the Nation’s Capital.  For more than three decades, the Club and its members have recognized Members of Congress who have demonstrated consistent support for the maritime industry and the United States-flag Merchant Marine and, by extension, honors the entire Congress for its support of maritime causes.  More than 250 guests are expected to attend and honor Representative Wittman, including individuals from the executive and legislative branches as well as independent agencies, leaders from the maritime industry and members of the Propeller Club from throughout the nation.  

Past recipients of the award include then-Speaker of the House Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill, the first honoree in 1985, and then-Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott in 1997.  Recent honorees include Sen. Roger Wicker, Rep. John Garamendi, and Sen. Mazie Hirono, last year’s recipient.  A complete list is at

Tables of 10 and individual tickets for the dinner can be reserved by calling 703-691-2777 or on the Club’s website

Propeller Club Convention 2017

December 22, 2017

More than 150 guests gathered on Florida’s Space Coast in October for the 91st annual convention of the International Propeller Club of the United States, in order to learn about industry trends, discuss ways to strengthen the Club and its Port chapters, and to conduct the organization’s business, including the election of leadership for the next year and beyond.

A number of industry leaders took part in conference sessions exploring current maritime topics.  Florida Governor Rick Scott addressed the opening night dinner, while U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, a former astronaut, appeared by video because he was unable to leave Washington, D.C., due to Congressional responsibilities.  In a luncheon speech, the new U.S. Maritime Administrator, RADM Mark H. “Buz” Buzby, USN (retired), expressed his support for the Jones Act, cargo preference, and the maritime security program and noted their importance in maintaining strategic sealift capability, and discussed the role of the nation’s Ready Reserve Fleet in hurricane response. 

Admiral Paul Zukunft, Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, offered a keynote address on the role of port modernization in economic prosperity.  Federal Maritime Commissioner William Doyle spoke about liner consolidation and participated in a panel discussion on cybersecurity, and other leaders from government and industry also participated in panels on liquid natural gas and port infrastructure—both shore-side and water-side considerations.  At a closing luncheon, Canaveral Port Authority CEO Capt. John Murray reported on the infrastructure improvements underway or recently completed:  a channel deepening and widening project completed in 2016 and an additional deepening project under consideration, plus one new cruise terminal completed and another one under construction. 

Business conducted

In their annual business session, representatives of Club Port chapters elected a leadership slate for the coming year.  (See story below.)  They also adopted a bylaws amendment to rename one of the Club's international regions as the "North and Central Europe region." 

In addition, a policy document that reflects the Club's position on a number of maritime issues was adopted by the convention. This "Statement of Principles" was developed by the Club’s Positions and Resolutions Committee, which studied resolutions that had been adopted at previous conventions, with the goal of capturing the Club’s policy concerns in a single document.  The Statement of Principles and a shorter summary were adopted by the convention, and both documents are available on the Club’s website.

Host Port
The Propeller Club Port of Port Canaveral was the host for this year’s convention.  Chartered in 1999, this Club chapter plays an active role in local leadership, including active engagement with the Canaveral Port Authority's Board of Commissioners. The chapter draws more than 100 members from the area’s maritime industry, which is a major contributor to the area’s economy.  The region’s aerospace industry has relied on access to the port since the days of the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo manned spaceflight missions, and today it is a base of operations for SpaceX and its experiments with reusable rockets. 

With its convenient location near Orlando’s tourism industry, the Canaveral Port Authority has also become the world’s second largest cruise port.  Other port activities include container, bulk and naval operations.  Special events at the Kennedy Space Center and at one of the cruise terminals offered a look at these important industries, and attendees also took a bus tour of the port facilities.

2017 International Awards 
For its leadership, its commitment to community service, and its efforts in hosting the annual convention, the Propeller Club Port of Port Canaveral was named the Propeller Club's 2017 International Port of the Year.  Convention co-chairman Capt. Rich Grimison of the Port Canaveral Harbor Pilots and a past president of the Port was honored as 2017 International Member of the Year.

Michael R. (Mike) Reagoso, III, Vice President, Mid-Atlantic, for McAllister Towing and a member of the Propeller Club Port of Baltimore, was selected as the 2017 International Maritime Person of the Year.  He was recognized for his leadership in the port communities of Baltimore and Philadelphia, where he has championed efforts to address environmental concerns while also remaining financially responsible.  He also serves as Chairman of the Baltimore Port Alliance, is a past president and board member of the Club's Port of Baltimore, and is on the board of both the Seaman's Church Institute and the Baltimore International Seafarers Center.


International Club leadership elected

 November 17, 2017

At its 91st annual convention last month, the International Propeller Club of the United States elected and installed its leaders for the coming year and beyond.  Representatives of the Club’s more than 75 chapters elected Rear Admiral Joel Whitehead, US Coast Guard (retired) to a two year term as International President.  RADM Whitehead is a member of the Club’s Port of New Orleans chapter.

Niels Aalund, a member of the Club’s Port of Houston and the Senior Vice President, Maritime Affairs, of the West Gulf Maritime Association, was elected First Vice President and Philippe de Gauw (Algiceras, Spain) was reelected as Second Vice President.  Both will serve terms expiring in 2019.

Maryanne Richards of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy was elected Vice President for Student Ports, where she will provide leadership for the Club’s program of outreach to future industry professionals attending maritime academies and other transportation-related programs.  Judy Barrett (Norfolk) and Pat Patrick (New Orleans) were reelected to one-year terms as treasurer and secretary, respectively.

Eleven regional vice presidents were elected or re-elected to one-year terms, and 17 additional directors were elected or are serving in terms that are continuing.  A full list of the international leadership is in the "About us" section this site.


Visit Port Canaveral for our 2017 Convention

 August 18, 2017

The 91st Annual International Propeller Club Convention, which will take place Wednesday-Friday, October 18-20, in Cocoa Beach, Florida.  Our hosts will be the Propeller Club Port of Port Canaveral.  A convention website is available at

This year’s theme is “Modernizing Ports for the Future,” and leading government officials will address the convention, including   
     The Honorable Rick Scott—Governor of Florida
     The Honorable Mark Buzby, RADM, USN (Ret.)—U.S. Maritime Administrator
     The Honorable William Doyle—Federal Maritime Commissioner
     Admiral Paul Zukunft, USCG—Commandant of the Coast Guard
Maritime industry leaders will also be on hand for panel discussions on physical port security and cybersecurity, port infrastructure improvements for larger ships, and growth of LNG as a maritime fuel and as an important cargo.

The convention will take place at the Doubletree by Hilton Cocoa Beach Oceanfront Hotel.  Online reservations are available from the convention website, with room rates as low as $129/night.  For more information about registration, lodging, special events, spouse and guest activities, and convention sponsorship, visit our convention website at


2017 National Maritime Day observed

 May 24, 2017

As has been the case for more than 80 years, the United States observed National Maritime Day on May 22. Congress first fixed that date in 1933, marking the day in 1819 when the S.S. Savannah left her namesake city on the first powered trans-Atlantic sailing. The President's 2017 proclamation of Maritime Day is on the White House website.  

For many years, Propeller Club Ports have made it a priority to observe Maritime Day by remembering those who sailed, and who gave their lives in service to the Merchant Marine.  


2017 Salute to Congress award presented

May 5, 2017 

A crowd of maritime industry leaders came together to honor U.S. Senator Mazie K. Hirono with the 33rd annual Salute to Congress award on May 2. She has been a supporter of the maritime industry throughout her time representing Hawaii, first in the House, then in the Senate as well. See photos of the event.


2017 Salute to Congress honoree announced

March 21, 2017

The Honorable Mazie K. Hirono (Hawaii) has been selected to be honored at the Club’s annual Salute to Congress dinner, to be held on May 2 at the Army Navy Country Club in Arlington, Va.  

Senator Hirono will be recognized for her support of the United States maritime industry. Hailing from the island state of Hawaii, Senator Hirono understands the importance of a vibrant U.S.-flag fleet to the nation’s economy and security. She is a stalwart advocate for the Jones Act, the Maritime Security Program, cargo preference, and other laws that are essential to supporting the United States Merchant Marine.

Senator Hirono

We are so pleased to be able to honor Senator Hirono with the Salute to Congress,” said the Propeller Club’s International President, Rick Schiappacasse of Jacksonville, Florida. “We look forward to the opportunity to thank her for her support of a strong domestic maritime industry. We are grateful for her leadership as ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Seapower and her advocacy for the Merchant Marine and the Jones Act.”

The Propeller Club’s Salute to Congress is the maritime industry’s most prestigious and anticipated annual event in the Nation’s Capital. For more than three decades, the Club and its members have recognized Members of Congress who have demonstrated consistent support for the maritime industry and the United States-flag Merchant Marine. More than 250 guests are expected to attend and honor Senator Hirono, including individuals from the executive and legislative branches as well as independent agencies, leaders from the maritime industry and members of the Propeller Club from throughout the nation.

Past recipients of the award include then-Speaker of the House Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill, the first honoree in 1985, and then-Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott in 1997. Recent honorees include Rep. Elijah Cummings, Rep. John Garamendi, and Sen. Roger Wicker, last year’s recipient. A complete list can be found at

Tables of 10 and individual tickets for the dinner can be reserved by calling 703-691-2777 or on the Club’s website at

The International Propeller Club of the United States is a non-profit, international association dedicated to the promotion of the maritime industry, commerce and global trade. Through more than 80 chapters located in port cities in the U.S. and abroad, the Propeller Club promotes the maritime industry and contributes to professional development of its members. 

For more information, visit