About the Maritime Museum

About the Maritime Museum of San Diego


The mission of the Maritime Museum of San Diego is to serve as the community memory of our seafaring experience by collecting, preserving, and presenting our rich maritime heritage and historic connections with the Pacific world.


The history of human achievement is defined in large measure by our historical relationship with the sea. Not only has the sea determined the progress and shape of civilization, our understanding of that relationship and our responsibilities for stewardship of the oceans will determine our future. This relationship cannot be understood or defined in purely scientific terms; culture exerts a dominating influence. The role of any maritime museum is translation between human experience of the oceans and our understanding of their nature.

  • To preserve the traditional knowledge, skills, and folk culture of the enterprise of the sea
  • To provide a safe repository for material culture
  • To illustrate how the maritime enterprise has touched and continues to influence our daily lives through innovative and engaging educational programs, exhibits, publications, and cultural events
Maritime Museum Association of San Diego – Board of Directors for 2015


  • Kenneth Andersen – Chairman
  • Douglas Sharp – Vice Chair
  • David Mac Vean – Past Chairman


  • Dennis Burks
  • Ben Clay
  • Robert Clelland
  • Robert Dilworth
  • Milford Wayne Donaldson
  • William Dysart
  • Iris Engstrand
  • Fred Frye
  • Gary Gould
  • Wayne Hanson
  • Francis Holian
  • Patricia Hsieh
  • Michael Jones
  • Erich Lathers
  • James Lonergan
  • Charles Mac Vean
  • David O’Brien
  • Himanshu Parikh
  • John Reid, Jr.
  • Jon Schmid
  • Ken Stipanov
  • Charles Wurster

Maritime Museum Association of San Diego – Officers for 2015

  • Raymond Ashley – President/CEO
  • Mark Montijo – Vice President
  • Mike Succetti – CFO
  • Erminia Taranto – Secretary

Founded in 1948, the Maritime Museum of San Diego enjoys a worldwide reputation for excellence in restoring, maintaining and operating historic vessels. The museum brings adventure and discovery to life through interactive exhibits, volunteer opportunities, and educational outreach. The Maritime Museum of San Diego has one of the world’s finest collections of historic ships, including the world’s oldest active ship the Star of India. The museum, located on the North Embarcadero in downtown San Diego, is open to visitors daily.

Historic Ship Collection

The Maritime Museum of San Diego hosts one of the world’s finest collections of historic ships, which represent a unique set of international, national and state narratives. Visitors are invited to step aboard each of the historic ships to explore and discover their rich, living history.

  • B-39 (1967) Soviet attack submarine designed to track US and NATO warships during the Cold War
  • Californian (1984) replica of a mid 19th century revenue cutter
  • H.M.S. Surprise (1970) replica of an 18th century Royal Navy frigate
  • PCF 816 Swift Boat Mark II patrol craft fast, Vietnam era swiftboat.
  • Pilot (1914): The oldest pilot boat still in service on the west coast
  • San Salvador : A working replical of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo ship
  • Star of India (1863): This iron-hulled beauty is the oldest active ship in the world and a state and national historic landmark
  • Berkeley (1898): The first successful propeller driven steam ferry on the west coast and a state and national historic landmark
  • Medea (1904): This steam yacht is from the age of conspicuous wealth
  • USS Dolphin (1968) US Navy submarine with the record for the deepest dive


The Maritime Museum of San Diego hosts a number of exhibits on board its
collection of ships to engage visitors and bring the ships’ history to life.

Visiting Exhibits

Permanent Exhibits


As a museum of living history, the Maritime Museum of San Diego is indebted to its many members, docents and volunteers who are actively engaged in bringing adventure and discovery to life for the museum’s many visitors.

Education Programs

The Maritime Museum of San Diego offers a variety of educational programs for school groups K-12, scouting programs and adults. The museum hosts a variety of dockside and at-sea educational programs serving over 15,000 students each year:

Curricular content for all educational programs is aligned with the California State Science and Social Studies framework for grade levels K-12.

Special Events

The ships that comprise the Maritime Museum of San Diego’s collection are both beautiful and versatile. As such they host approximately 160 special private events each year. Past events have included weddings, corporate events, private receptions, meetings and luncheons. Each ship has its own unique persona, as well as history, that can add to events.

Popular Public Events

The museum hosts many events throughout the year to engage visitors and bring history to life. Such past and annual events include:

  • Festival of Sail each Labor Day weekend: A majestic celebration and opportunity to see the full Maritime Museum of San Diego fleet at sail.
  • Chocolate Festival: A family friendly event with vendors focusing on chocolate edibles, fun & crafts for kids (including making their own chocolate pizza), demonstrations and other interesting items for adults.
  • Pirate Buccaneer Birthday Bash: Don your pirate outfit, dust off your eye patch and come on down to the Maritime Museum of San Diego! Pirate caps included for your lil rascals.
  • Sea Chantey Festival: Sailor’s songs come to life with life music recreating popular sea chanteys. Presented in partnership with the San Diego Folk Heritage.
  • Family Sleepovers: Each summer families travel back in time with the Maritime Museum of San Diego’s living history staff and spend a night aboard the Star of India, the world’s oldest active ship.
  • For current and upcoming events view our Public Events main page Click here.

Museum Financials