American Integrity entering Duluth

Makinaw Entering Duluth Port

Polstream and Kayakers


Memorials can be sent to: LSMMA, P.O. Box 177, Duluth, MN 55801. Please include who the memorial is for and the donor's address.

Endowment and fundraising questions should be directed to LSMMA’s office at 218-720-5260 or e-mail


The Captain Ray Skelton Memorial Scholarship

Supporting the Cause

Donations are needed now to establish the Captain Ray Skelton Memorial Scholarship at the Great Lakes Maritime Academy. Sponsored by the Lake Superior Marine Museum Association and Capt. Skelton’s family, the scholarship will be launched when a special endowment fund at Northwestern Michigan College reaches $15,000.

The Scholarship

An annual scholarship of about $1,000 will be awarded to a Great Lakes Maritime Academy senior seeking to become a licensed deck officer. Applicants must be enrolled full-time and have a grade point average of at least 2.0, but preference will be given to cadets who have a GPA of 3.0 in navigation, seamanship and ship-handling courses. A student with commercial maritime experience in the foc’sle will have precedence over an individual with higher grades.

LSMMA Matching Funds

Contributions will be tax-deductible, as provided by law, and will be matched 100 percent by the LSMMA. The LSMMA, a nonprofit organization created in 1973 to support Duluth’s Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center, promotes and preserves the region’s maritime heritage through memberships, educational programs, field trips, special events such as the annual “Gales of November” in Duluth, and publication of a quarterly magazine, The Nor’Easter.

Donations may be made online via or by mail to:

Ray Skelton Scholarship
NMC Foundation
1701 E. Front Street
Traverse City, MI 49686

The Great Lakes Maritime Academy

The Great Lakes Maritime Academy, a division of Northwestern Michigan College and a partner of Ferris State University, prepares men and women to serve as business professionals and as merchant marine officers aboard Great Lakes and ocean ships.

Established in 1969 and expanded with a new waterfront campus in 2003, it is based in Traverse City, Michigan, and is the nation’s only freshwater maritime academy. Classroom instruction is complemented by time aboard a 225-foot training ship, State of Michigan, and a fleet of smaller vessels.

Graduates are awarded both a bachelor’s degree in business administration and an associate’s degree in maritime technology and are qualified to take Coast Guard license examinations for a third mate Great Lakes or oceans, first class pilot Great Lakes, or third assistant engineer, steam and motor vessels.

The demand for merchant marine officers is high—Great Lakes fleet operators presently anticipate the need for 40 new officers annually. The Academy strives to enroll 60 quality students annually to fill officer positions as well as maritime-related shoreside jobs.

For more information please see:

Click here to download brochure (PDF)

A Program to Help Aspiring Deck Officers at
the Great Lakes Maritime Academy

Duluth’s Ray Skelton “came through the hawse pipe” to become a master mariner, port official and ardent proponent of Great Lakes shipping. In his memory—and in tribute to his passion for seafaring—his family and friends have established a scholarship at the Great Lakes Maritime Academy. The Lake Superior Marine Museum Association, which is matching all donations dollar-for-dollar, invites you to participate.

Although his name became known in the maritime industry because of what he accomplished ashore, Ray Skelton was—to his very core—a Great Lakes merchant sailor.

RAY SKELTON (1943-2006)

Ray Skelton’s world was the one you see through the pilothouse window. His knowledge of Great Lakes ships, navigation routes, the rules of the road and practical seamanship was nearly encyclopedic. His finest moments were when he was at sea or talking about it.

Born near Lake Huron in Bay City, Michigan, Ray joined the Navy Submarine Service in 1961 and served in the Pacific Fleet. Following discharge in late 1964, he became a merchant mariner and rose through the ranks with American Steamship Co., Litton Industries and the Columbia Fleet. He earned a first class pilot’s license in 1972, a master’s license in 1976.

He joined the Duluth Seaway Port Authority in 1990 as director of environmental and government affairs. He also managed the port’s foreign trade zone and, after 9/11, was appointed port security director.

A vigorous advocate for the shipping industry, he was grand president of the International Shipmasters’ Association; chairman of the American Association of Port Authorities Harbors, Navigation and Environment Committee; president of the Twin Ports Chapter of the U.S. Propeller Club, a director and instructor with the American Maritime Officers School of Navigation, and U.S. ports representative on the National Research Council’s Marine Board Ballast Committe





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