A Word From The President
As the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers' 39th president, I have the privilege of leading the society up to its centennial. SNAME has grown from a small New York-centered organization to a society with worldwide membership, recognition and prestige. When it was established in 1893, private shipbuilding was at a low level; there were hints of a naval shipbuilding resurgence; steel was emerging as a material for ship hulls; and welding, refrigeration, electronics and high-pressure steam were yet to be developed. Yet the fall of the United States from a position of world leadership in shipbuilding, with the decline of wooden ships, stirred an idea among a group of marine professionals—professionals with a vision and foresight. The idea was to create a professional marine-oriented society in the United States similar to several in existence abroad—a society where members had the opportunity to relate on technical issues and receive needed services.
The objectives, adopted in 1893, can be summarized as being to advance the state of the art; to afford facilities for the exchange of information and ideas; to disseminate the results of research, experience and information among the members; to encourage and sponsor such research; to cooperate with educational institutions and to promote the professional integrity and status of the members.
We've come a long way! Growing to about 2,000 members in its first 50 years and growing another fivefold to over 10,000 today is the ultimate testament to our wise founders. These founders included such leaders as William H. Webb, David W.
Taylor, and Francis T. Bowles. Over the years, the society has achieved its objectives in numerous ways. It has established a scholarship program that provides graduate scholarships for advanced study in marine professional areas, and in 1957 it added an undergraduate scholarship program to encourage young people to enter the profession. Ten colleges are on the approved undergraduate list. Our society also provides the visitors for the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) to evaluate and accredit colleges and universities offering degrees in naval architecture, marine engineering and ocean engineering. Clearly we have done more than "cooperate with educational institutions." In the area of research, SNAME established a Technical and Research (T&R) Program just over half a century ago. Through the T&R Program the society encourages and sponsors maritime research into all areas of the sea sciences, with particular emphasis on the construction of large ships, small craft, marine vehicles and offshore structures. SNAME was founded as an association of individuals. There continue to be no organizational memberships and no mandate for direct support of the industries from which it draws its members. Therefore, SNAME is uniquely qualified as a professional forum for discussion of the problems faced by its members in their technical pursuits. The society is widely recognized for its contributions to projects and programs of technical interest throughout the marine industry.
The T&R Program, through its committees and panels, reviews the state of the art, recommends, funds, and seeds needed research projects. It initiates, coordinates and directs projects, and highlights the need for technical investigations.
In addition to work in safety, energy saving and efficiency improvements, the program has also been instrumental in breakthroughs in hydrodynamics, structural design, propulsion, auxiliary systems, materials, ship operating practices and ship production techniques that are significant to the advancement of the marine industry.
Support for this program comes from annual contributions from every segment of the maritime and ocean-oriented industries. The society solicits contributions from the shipowners, ship operators, shipbuilders, suppliers, ship designers, ocean engineering organizations, specialty firms and individuals. With the present depressed state of s h i p p i n g and commercial shipbuilding, the continued support of t h e program is important to ensure that the industry continues to explore needed Ronald K. Kiss research to keep up with changing technology.
The centralized national nature of SNAME began to evolve on a geographic basis when its first section was established in Philadelphia in 1941. Since then, 16 more sections were created concluding with the Arctic Section which will celebrate its 10th birthday this month.
For a naval architect or marine engineer, SNAME is the premier technical society. It provides one of the best ways to keep abreast of change in our chosen profession. In particular, the technical sessions at the Annual Meeting are the keystone of reported progress in our field. These are supplemented by symposia, local section meetings and outstanding journals (Marine Technology, Journal of Ship Research and Journal of Ship Production). For those members wanting to be involved with the evolution of change, the T&R Program offers the opportunity to work with technical leaders in specific technical areas.
Today the situation in our industry is no brighter than it was when SNAME was founded, but we have grown and flourished for 98 years. Plans are being made to celebrate our centennial in a proper fashion. But more importantly, through the hard work of numerous committees, plans are also being made to take SNAME into its second century with the same commitment to excellence and technical growth that the original founders exhibited. We plan to remain strong so future professionals in the field will have the same opportunities to benefit and learn from SNAME that thousands have already experienced.