Propeller Club News

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