Contact Us

The Maritime Heritage Program is headquartered at ONMS' headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland. Contact the director at 

James P. Delgado, Ph.D.
Director of Maritime Heritage 

James Delgado
James P. Delgado, PhD, FRGS, RPA, has led or participated in shipwreck expeditions around the world. His undersea explorations include RMSTitanic, the discoveries of Carpathia, the ship that rescued Titanic's survivors, and the notorious "ghost ship" Mary Celeste, as well as surveys of USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor, the sunken fleet of atomic-bombed warships at Bikini Atoll, the polar exploration ship Maud, wrecked in the Arctic, the 1846 wreck of the United States naval brig Somers, whose tragic story inspired Herman Melville's Billy Budd, and Sub Marine Explorer, a civil war-era find and the world's oldest known deep-diving submarine. His archaeological work has also included the excavation of ships and collapsed buildings along the now-buried waterfront of Gold Rush San Francisco.

Dr. Delgado is Director of NOAA's Maritime Heritage Program. Previously, he was the President and CEO of the Institute of Nautical Archaeology at Texas A&M University for nearly 5 years, and was the Executive Director of the Vancouver Maritime Museum for 15 years. Before that, he was the head of the U.S. Government's maritime preservation program and was the maritime historian for the U.S. National Park Service. During his nearly 14-year tenure with the VMM, Dr. Delgado co-hosted TheSea Hunters along with best-selling author Clive Cussler, from 2001 to 2006. Other television credits include specials for the Discovery Channel, National Geographic Explorer, A&E, the History Channel, and ABC. His active participation in the study and preservation of shipwreck sites and maritime heritage has included a founding membership in the International Commission on Monuments and Site (ICOMOS) committee on underwater cultural heritage and the presidency of the Council of American Maritime Museums. He also led the crew that restored Ben Franklin (PX-15), a 130-ton oceanographic research submersible originally built in Switzerland for famed undersea explorer and scientist Jacques Piccard and most famously employed on a historic 30-day "drift mission" along the eastern seaboard of the United States in 1969.

A Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and a Fellow of the Explorers Club, Dr. Delgado is the author or editor of over 32 books and numerous articles, most recently Nuclear Dawn: The Atomic Bomb from the Manhattan Project to the Cold WarKhubilai Khan's Lost Fleet: In Search of a Legendary Armada, and Gold Rush Port: The Maritime Archaeology of San Francisco's Waterfront. His booksLost Warships: An Archaeological Tour of War at Sea and Across the Top of the World: The Quest for the Northwest Passage are both international best-sellers published simultaneously in North America and Britain. Other books include Waterfront: An Illustrated Maritime Story of Greater VancouverAdventures of a Sea Hunter: In Search of Famous Shipwrecks, the Encyclopedia of Underwater and Maritime ArchaeologyGhost Fleet: The Sunken Ships of Bikini AtollPearl Harbor Recalled: New Images from the Day of Infamy,Great American ShipsTo California by Sea: A Maritime History of the Gold Rush, and three books for children; Wrecks of American WarshipsNative American Shipwrecks, and Shipwrecks of the Westward Movement