History of International Association of Marine Investigators, Inc.

(Updated:  01.15.20)

Administration History Document

Birth of “NAMI” and “IAMI”

Pat Rowland & Kerry McCook, IAMI Past President’s

1986 - 1990 Vessel Theft Investigators National Roster

In 1986, Major Dave MacGillis of the Florida Marine Patrol, organized and published the “First Vessel Theft Investigators National Roster.  This roster was intended to assist investigators in combating marine crime by providing contact persons from various agencies involved in marine theft investigations.

It was an effort to network marine investigators combating high profit, low risk marine theft and insurance fraud by providing a contact person to enhance their investigative efforts.  The roster was initially made up of approximately 300 officer and agents, both law enforcement and private, who had agreed to assist in the investigation of stolen boats, motors and boat trailers; registration/title fraud; or insurance fraud.  When called upon, a spirit of cooperation was expected in doing documented searches, interviews, inspections, or whatever it took to support the successful investigation.

Annual seminars were held in 1986, 1987 and 1988 in connection with the annual training seminar of the Southeast Chapter of the International Association of Auto Theft Investigators.  In 1989, a three-day training seminar was held in New Orleans sponsored by the Southern States Boating Law Administrators.  The 1989 National Roster was updated to reflect the almost 500 officers and agents, both law enforcement and private who have agreed to assist in investigations relating to marine thefts and vessel title frauds. A Manufacture Identification Code (MIC) data book as well as a boat trailer manufacture book was created.  The spirit of cooperation in an effort to support successful investigations continued.     

By 1990, over 700 officer(s) and agent(s), both law enforcement and private had agreed to assist in investigations relating to marine thefts and vessel title frauds. 

The foundation was laid for the birth of “IAMI Networking”

1991 National Association of Marine Investigators, (NAMI) Inc.

In 1991, the organization was officially established and incorporated as the “National Association of Marine Investigators, (NAMI) Inc.” 

Membership categories were:  Law Enforcement Representative of municipal, county, state and federal law enforcement agencies who are full time salaried employees with peace officer powers or are engaged in intelligence gathering.  U.S. Coast Guard officials, Special Agents of the NICB and administrative officials of vessel registering or titling authorities were eligible for LE membership.

Non-Law Enforcement Those persons not covered under LE, including Reserve, Auxiliary or Retired law enforcement officers, shall be eligible for this membership.

Officers and Directors The officers of NAMI consisted of a President, First Vice president, Second Vice President, Secretary/Treasurer and seven Directors.  The President, First VP, Second VP and Three Directors shall be Law Enforcement members.  The Secretary/Treasurer and four Directors may be Non-law enforcement members.

Partnership with the United States Coast Guard:  NAMI and later IAMI instructors began instructing Marine Theft Training as part of the National Safe Boating Instructor Course (NBSIC) and later the Marine Patrol Officer Course (MPOC) at USCG Training Center in Yorktown, VA, and later at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Charleston, SC.

1992 ATS Corpus Christi, TX

Martin Aberg was the first international member in NAMI.  This was the first time a marine investigator (LE) from outside the US attended.  The Swedish insurance investigation was considered as LE, the same structure as NICB in the US.

1994 ATS Boston, MA

Delegates from Sweden, Germany, UK, Canada and Venezuela besides all delegates from the U.S.  During the seminar we pointed out that NAMI should be an international organization since we, at that time, had several international members.

NAMI – Minimum Claims Procedures For Boat Theft Claims

NAMI developed a recommended minimum claims procedure for insurance company management of boat theft claims.  The investigative steps contained in the standards were developed in consideration of the loopholes commonly found in marine titling, underwriting, and boat theft investigations.  While these recommended procedures are not all inclusive, they can lead claims personnel to ask the questions necessary to increase the potential for recovery of the vessel and/or identification of fraudulent claims.

  • Tier I -  Procedures:  Recommended as a minimum for all boat total losses caused by theft, sinking or fire.
  • Tier II -  Procedures:  Are for further investigation of those claims which leave you with more questions than answers at the conclusion of the Tier I procedure.

1994 National Association of Marine Investigators, (NAMI) Inc.

April 1st, 1994 – Original Articles of Incorporation filed in Tallahassee, Florida and listed as a 501(c) (6) corporation.

  • 1994 – 2005 Character Hull Identification Number Project
  • IAMI along with several other organizations including NASBLA, NICB, Boat U.S., NBSAC, EU Commission and AU Marine Forum requested the Coast Guard expand the current 12 character HIN format to 17 characters. 
  • Expanding the HIN format to 17 characters would result in a vastly improved watercraft theft and recovery reporting system.  The FBI National Crime Information Center (NCIC) maintains records of all stolen watercraft reported by the law enforcement community.  NCIC records for the year 2000 indicated that over 80% of all stolen watercraft were less than 20 feet in length and only 20% of the stolen watercraft are recovered.  This recovery rate compares with a 68% recovery rate of stolen vehicles for the same period.  NICB believes requiring a 17 character HIN, similar to the 17 VIN required on vehicles, will greatly enhance the recovery rate of watercraft, as well as improve the theft reporting process.  Since the crime issue is of paramount importance to elected officials and the public today, all attempts should be made to streamline efforts among law enforcement, federal and state regulatory authorities and the insurance industry to combat watercraft theft.  We still have the original 12 Character HIN formats.

1995 National Association of Marine Investigators Membership Roster

U.S.A. Members:  918 in 47 States

Various Countries’:  63 members in 14 Countries

1996 International Association of Marine Investigators, (IAMI) Inc.

June 5, 1996 – Corporation name amended to International Association of Marine Investigators (IAMI), Incorporated.  IAMI Europe held its first annual training conference in Southampton, United Kingdom.  Since then, seminars have been held at many locations throughout Europe including – Hamburg, Liege, Stockholm, Lignano, Rotterdam, Mallorca, Dubrovnik, Cork, Ibiza, Tallinn, Riga, Malta and Athens.

IAMI Mission Statement:

To develop and provide high levels of training to law enforcement, insurance investigators, and other marine professionals.  Working and training together with both public and private sectors, to combat marine theft, arson, fraud, and other criminal activity in the marine environment.

1996 IAMI Regional Coordinator Program

The International Association of Marine Investigators were divided into regions for the United States.  Each region shall have a Regional Coordinator, designated by the Regional Coordinator Director.  Regional Coordinators are responsible for identifying and securing State Regional Coordinators to promote and conduct Regional Training Seminars (RTS).  They shall also assist hosts to ensure the proper administration / conduct of RTS, including course content in conjunction with the CMI program, securing IAMI certified instructors, teaching aids, local agency assistance, evaluation processes as outlined the Training Directors’ duties.

1997 IAMI - State Farm Partnership

  • Watercraft Fire Investigations (03/97 - Tape: 130)
  • Watercraft Theft Prevention (2/97 - Tape: 129)
  • Watercraft ID & Theft Investigation (11/98 - Tape: 131)
  • 1998 Southampton, UK
  • Europe held their first annual training seminar in Southampton, UK with 60 delegates in attendance.
  • 1998 IAMI Instructor Program
  • The IAMI Board of Directors authorized the development of an IAMI Instructor Program to distinguish our members who consistently instruct year after year. 
  • 2000 – 2007 IAMI Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
  • 2000 -  National Association of Boating Law Administrators
  • 2001 -  Florida Marine Intelligence Unit
  • 2002 -  Southern States Boating Law Administrators
  • 2002 -  Northern Association of Boating Administrators
  • 2002 -  Western States Boating Administrators Association
  • 2003 -  Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors
  • 2003 -  Western States Boating Administrators Association
  • 2003 -  Northern Association of Boating Administrators
  • 2003 -  Southern States Boating Law Administrators Association
  • 2007 -  National Boating Federation
  •          
  • 2001 – IAMI Europe Steering Committee:
  • IAMI Europe Steering Committee was formed.  The purpose of the Steering Committee was to facilitate geographically regionalized training and provide personalized membership handling.  The EUSC established SOPs in accordance with IAMIs Mission.

2001 – 2009 IAMI Marine Theft Investigations Guide

The original Marine Theft Investigations Guide was completed by investigators and the staff of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.  Since then, members of the International Association of Marine Investigators Inc. (IAMI)., have contributed materials and guidance in this updated guide.  The Marine Theft Investigations Guide produced by SCDNR has been converted to the New Marine Investigators Pocket Guide.

Marine Theft Investigations Guide          2001
Marine Theft Investigations Guide          2004
Marine Theft Investigations Guide          2006
Marine Theft Investigations Guide          2009

2004 IAMI Certified Marine Investigators Program (CMI):

  • IAMI designed and implemented a Certified Marine Investigators (CMI) Program to recognize those investigators who have the experience and training, in addition to their own area(s) of expertise, to bring a new dimension and insight into their respective fields of endeavor.  IAMI Certified Marine Investigator (CMI) designation is limited to IAMI members in good standing who have experience and/or training in a wide range of areas.
  • The participants must have – high moral character, meet minimum education/experience (high school diploma, minimum of three years’ experience which is directly or indirectly to Marine Matters, Criminology/Law Enforcement, and Insurance), pass the uniform CMI Examination (eligibility to sit for examination – Minimum of 250 credits through any combination of work experience, marine degree, vocational programs, or credits through any combination of work experience, marine degree, vocational programs, or credits through SAMs, NAMs, CFE, CPCU etc.) , maintain required continuing professional education, pay annual Association dues, and abide by IAMI By-Laws and the Code of Professional Ethics of IAMI.  This designation for IAMI Members will ensure that marine investigators are qualified in various aspects of marine terminology, forensic photography, investigations techniques, etc.  This certification has a mandatory 5-year recertification.  The designation(s) shall be limited to members in good standing who have experience and/or training in a wide range of areas including, but not limited to, the detection, prevention and investigation of boat and related thefts, adjusting boat related insurance claims, marine surveying, admiralty law as it relates to recreational boating, cause and origin of fires, marine insurance policy interpretation, accident reconstruction, matters related to hull construction and the operation and repair of motors, and the like.
  • As of December 5, 2019 IAMI has a total of 113 CMIs.  Read more about IAMI’s CMI Program in the Members Only area.

2009 – 2018 IAMI Marine Investigators Pocket Guide

This new guide was approved by the Officers and BODs at IAMI’s Mid-Year Business Meeting held in Portland, Oregon on September 13, 2008.  Marine crimes cover a wide range of criminal acts from theft to insurance fraud.  In order to investigate marine crimes, the investigator should have some working knowledge of boats and motors.  IAMI produced this Pocket Guide as a tool containing information and check lists that will assist the marine professional conducting investigations with the identification of boats, motors, and associated marine equipment.  The information was compiled by members of IAMI, Inc.

IAMI Marine Investigators Pocket Guide           2009
IAMI Marine Investigators Pocket Guide           2013
IAMI Marine Investigators Pocket Guide           2016
IAMI Marine Investigators Pocket Guide           2020 (Revision - Work in progress)

2009 IAMI Change in Status:

New Oregon Corporation was formed to seek 501(c) (3) status to enable IAMI access to USCG assets (training facilities) and be in a more favorable position to receive grant money.

  • February 27, 2009 – IRS letter acknowledging 501(c) (3) status effective March 27, 2008.
  • March 18, 2009 – 501(c) (3) status announced to IAMI Members at the 2009 Portland, Oregon ATS, at which time they voted to dissolve the Florida Corporation.

2010 Dissolution of Not-For-Profit Florida Corporation IAMI, Inc.

April 15, 2010 – Effective date of IAMI’s dissolution in the State of Florida.

2011 – 2020 IAMI Marine Investigation Manual

The original Marine Theft Investigations Guide was completed by investigators and the staff of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.  The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources authorized the International Association of Marine Investigators Inc. (IAMI) to update the Marine Theft Investigations Guide.  The new guide was renamed “Marine Investigation Manual”.  IAMI members contributed materials and guidance in this revision project.  In 2010, a new project was undertaken to produce IAMI’s Marine Investigation Manual.  The International Association of Marine Investigators (IAMI) has produced the Marine Investigation Manual as a tool to assist the investigator and a study guide for the Certified Marine Investigators (CMI) Program.  The Manual is a compilation of various aspects of marine investigation and is simply a tool.  The intent of the manual is to assist the marine professional conducting investigations with the identification of boats, motors and associated marine equipment.  Many resources to assist the investigator are included throughout the Manual.  This information was compiled by IAMI Members. 

IAMI Marine Investigations Manual         2011
IAMI Marine Investigations Manual         2012
IAMI Marine Investigations Manual         2016
IAMI Marine Investigations Manual         2017
IAMI Marine Investigations Manual         2020 (Revision - Work in Progress)

  • 2011 IAMI Trademark Application
  • On August 2, 2011 IAMI applied for and received approval for registration of “International Association of Marine Investigators, IAMI” and its Logo.
  • 2012 IAMI Instructor Program - Updates
  • The IAMI Board of Directors established that all instructors for IAMI “Core Courses” must be an IAMI Certified Marine Investigator (CMI) or an IAMI Board approved ‘Subject Matter Expert’ within a specific field.
  • 2015 - CMI Instructors: 25 / Subject Matter Experts: 5
  • ·       Current number of CMI Instructors:  28
  • ·       Current number of Subject Matter Expert Instructors:  3
  • 2019 European Membership

Following the request of the European members, the European Steering Committee of the International Association of Marine Investigators, Inc. rebranded itself into the Global Marine Investigations (GMI).

  • IAMI Conferences & Regional Training
  • Each year the Association, in conjunction with its annual meeting, sponsors a three-day training seminar that is open to all members and to all interested law enforcement officers, insurance investigators, surveyors, and Coast Guard Officials.  These seminars normally cover the various aspects of marine theft and fraud, boating accidents, and very specific investigative techniques that will assist investigators in their investigations.

IAMI Certified Marine Investigator (CMI) Core Courses

IAMI Members developed the 11 Core Courses for the CMI Program.  

  • Marine Identification – 101
  • Outboards – 101
  • Inboard/Outboards – 101
  • Marine Identification PWC – 101
  • Federal Carriage Requirements – 101
  • Federal Documentation – 101
  • Admiralty Law – 101
  • Insurance Fraud – 101
  • Forensic Photography for the Field Investigator – 101
  • Marine Fire Investigations – 101
  • Boat Accident Investigations – 101
  • NAMI / IAMI Annual Training Seminars (ATS)
  • ATS #           Dates                     Attendees                        Location
  • 1                    Jan 1991                unknown                          Orlando, FL
  • 2                    Feb 1992               unknown                          Corpus Christi, TX
  • 3                    Mar 1993               unknown                          New Orleans, LA
  • 4                    Mar 1994               unknown                          Boston, MA
  • 5                    Feb 1995                     245                               Charleston, SC 
  • 6                    Feb 1996                     259                               Biloxi, MS
  • 7                    Jan 1997                      173                                St. Louis, MO
  • 8                    Jan 1998                      240                                Orlando, FL
  • 9                    Mar 1999                     223                                Nashville, TN
  • 10                  Feb 2000                      247                               Galveston, TX
  • 11                  Mar 2001                     150                                Oklahoma City, OK
  • 18                  Feb 2008                      155                                Baton Rouge, LA
  • 12                  Jan 2002                       216                                Las Vegas, NV
  • 13                  Feb 2003                      204                                Panama City, FL
  • 14                  Feb 2004                      213                                West Palm Beach, FL
  • 15                  Mar 2005                     188                                San Diego, CA
  • 16                  Feb 2006                      210                                Virginia Beach, VA
  •  17                 Feb 2007                     188                                 Panama City, FL
  • 19                  Mar 2009                     177                                Portland, OR
  • 20                  Jan 2010                       139                                Galveston, TX
  • 21                  Mar 2011                     147                                Chattanooga, TN
  • 22                  Feb 2012                      131                                San Diego, CA
  • 23                  Feb 2013                      130                                Isle of Palms, SC
  • 24                  Feb 2014                      110                                Oklahoma City, OK
  • 25                  Mar 2015                     131                                Mobile, AL
  • 26                  Mar 2016                     153                                Knoxville, TN
  • 27                  Mar 2017                     116                                Savannah, GA
  • 28                  Mar 2018                     130                                Norfolk, VA
  • 29                  Mar 2019                     136                                Biloxi, MS
  • 30                  Mar 2020                                                           North Charleston, SC

NAMI / IAMI Regional Training Seminars (RTS)

  • Year                Location                                 Attendees                   Coordinator
  • 1995                San Diego, CA                              30                                     Todd Schwede
  • 1997                Seattle, WA                                   60                                     Pat Rowland
  • 1998                Southampton, UK                       60                                     Clark / Aberg
  • 1999                Copenhagen, Denmark                                                       Clark / Aberg
  • 2000                Southampton UK                                                                  Peter Clark
  • 2001                Hamburg, Germany                                                              EUSC Members
  • 2002                Nieuwpoort, Belgium                                                           EUSC Members
  • 2003                Golf Juan, France                                                                   EUSC Members                       
  • 2004                Biloxi, MS                                     50                                      Bill Dobson
  • 2004                Fredericksburg, VA                     24                                     Kevin Kelly
  • 2004                Liege, Belgium                                                                      EUSC Members
  • 2005                Baton Rouge, LA                        25                                      Bill Dobson
  • 2005                Germany                                                                               EUSC Members
  • 2005                Wells, MA                                    83                                      Dan Rutherford
  • 2006                Shreveport, LA                           22                                      Bill Dobson                 
  • 2006                Stockholm, Sweden                                                             EUSC Members
  • 2007                Peoria, IL                                    38                                       Eric Lundin                 
  • 2007                Lignano, Italy                                                                        EUSC Members
  • 2007                Vancouver, WA                                                          
  • 2008                Rotterdam, the Netherlands                                             EUSC Members
  • 2009                Ontario, Canada                      34                                       Dick Thorsen
  • 2009                Portschach, Austria                                                            EUSC Members
  • 2010                Mallorca, Spain                                                                    EUSC Members
  • 2010                Gloucester, VA                         27                                        Earl Joyner
  • 2011                Great Lakes                             14                                         David Kacprowicz
  • 2011                Dubrovnik, Croatia                                                              EUSC Members
  • 2011                Oklahoma Regional                68                                        Wayne Skrdla
  • 2012                Sayreille, NJ                          104                                          Dan Rutherford
  • 2012                Cork, Ireland                                                                        EUSC Members
  • 2013                Ibiza Spain                                                                            EUSC Members
  • 2013                Portland, ME                           55                                         Dan Rutherford
  • 2014                Tallinn Estonia                                                                     EUSC Members
  • 2015                So Yarmouth, MA                   121                                       Adam Holloway
  • 2015                Riga Latvia                                32                                       EUSC Members
  • 2016                Qawra, Malta                                                                       EUSC Members                       
  • 2016                Sandusky, OH                          18                                       David Kacprowicz
  • 2017                Henderson, NV                        55                                       Todd Schwede
  • 2017                Athens, Greece                                                                   EUSC Members
  • 2018                Port Orchard, WA                    34                                      Peggy Feakes
  • 2018                Sibenik, Croatia                                                                   EUSC Members
  • 2019                Henderson, NV                        82                                       Todd Schwede
  • IAMI Training Seminars - Various Topics
  • ·       Admiralty Law
  • ·       Insurance fraud investigations
  • ·       Changes in the Marine Insurance industry – Internet applications & Underwriting trends
  • ·       Computer generated Fake Documents
  • ·       Container Theft
  • ·       Raising, tracing, and lifting HINs (acid restoration)
  • ·       Identification of Marine Crimes – using the internet
  • ·       PWC – HIN – VIN Identification
  • ·       State vessel registrations / new Coast Guard numbering regulations
  • ·       Stolen Boat Investigations – trends and patterns and security concerns.
  • ·       Trailer serial numbers, outboard and inboard serial numbers, and vessel identification numbers.
  • ·       Updates on changes to Coast Guard regulations and policies
  • ·       Updates on the status of NCIC 2000 and VIDS
  • ·       Ethics and the claims process (not your usual unfair claims settlement presentations)
  • ·       HIN 101
  • ·       NICB – who they are and how they can help
  • ·       FIRE! – cause and analysis of actual cases, including live burns
  • ·       USCG Investigations
  • ·       Engine/outdrive/outboard motor identifiers.
  • ·       What IAMI Can Do for Me
  • ·       Panel Discussions on Case Studies
  • ·       Report Writing
  • ·       Evidence Collection
  • ·       Subrogation in the Marine Claims World
  • Historically:

Historically the most successful NAMI and IAMI ATSs have been those supported and/or sponsored by local Law Enforcement Agencies.

During 2012 IAMI noticed a decrease in Law Enforcement agencies sending officers to IAMI Training.  This was due to Local, State and Federal Budget cuts.  Furthermore, most LE agencies would not authorize Out-of-State Travel for any type of training. 

Another factor in a decrease of LE membership and/or participation in IAMI ATS training were that several agencies reorganized; disbanding their Marine Patrol Programs and/or placing them under State Police.  

  • 1991 – 2019 Leadership NAMI - IAMI
  • President               Years                     Location
  • Dave MacGillis        1991-92                  Orlando, FL / Corpus Christi, TX
  • Larry Ross               1993-94                  New Orleans / Boston, MA
  • Dick Blodgett          1995-96-97            Charleston, SC / Biloxi, MS / St. Louis, MO
  • Jimmy Laird             1998-99                  Orlando, FL / Nashville, TN
  • Brian Ripley             2000-01                  Galveston, TX / Oklahoma City, OK
  • Pat Rowland            2002-03                  Las Vegas, NV / Panama City, FL
  • Karlton Kilby           2004-05                  West Palm Beach, FL / San Diego, CA
  • Sam Bean                2006-07                  Virginia Beach, VA / Panama City, FL
  • Mike Smith              2008-09                  Baton Rouge, LA / Portland, OR
  • Martin Aberg          2010-11                  Galveston, TX / Chattanooga, TN
  • Jay Pragman           2012-13                  San Diego, CA / Isle of Palms, SC
  • Wayne Skrdla         2014-15                  Oklahoma City, OK / Mobile, AL
  • Kerry McCook        2016-17                  Knoxville, TN / Savannah, GA
  • Rusty Russell          2018-19                  Norfolk, VA / North Charleston, SC
  • Secretary / Treasurer
  • Mike Higgins           1994/2004
  • Kevin Kelly              2004/2006
  • Tom Willis               2006/2009
  • Ian Lance                2009/2010
  • Ron Morris             2010/2013
  • Pat Rowland          2013/Present                             
  • Executive Directors
  • Ronnie Rowland      2006/13                   Medford, OR
  • Julie Smith                2013/Present          Russellville, MO