Maritime Publishing of San Diego has acquired Navigator Publishing, the parent company of Professional Mariner and sister magazine Ocean Navigator. The sale included both print magazines and their respective websites, newsletters and email marketing products.
The agreement, which closed in mid-March, brings Professional Mariner and Ocean Navigator together with Pacific Maritime magazine and Fishermen’s News. Maritime Publishing previously acquired those publications from Philips Publishing Group of Seattle. Both magazines, which ceased publication early in the COVID-19 pandemic, will re-launch this spring.
Businessman Dave Abrams will serve as publisher for the new media company. Abrams is CEO of the Training Resources Maritime Institute (TRLMI) in San Diego, the largest private maritime training facility in the Western United States. TRLMI is the parent company of Maritime Publishing.
“We are in the business of providing mariners with knowledge through education,” Abrams said. “Professional Mariner and Ocean Navigator have been providing knowledge through current industry news and original reporting for decades, so they are a natural extension of our existing business. The titles give us the ability to provide mariners with advocacy, news and information about the industries and adventures we train them for.”
Navigator Publishing launched Ocean Navigator in April 1985, and eight years later the company published the first issue of Professional Mariner. Headlines in the first issue included “NWS flip-flops over termination of U.S. weatherfax broadcasts” and “Adventures at firefighting school.” The magazine will continue to publish original reporting on casualties, maritime safety and training under the new ownership.
Over the years, Professional Mariner expanded its print and digital offerings. American Tugboat Review is published each spring, while American Ship Review comes out in the fall. These annual special issues are the only magazines of their kind focused entirely on U.S. tugboat and large vessel construction. Thousands of people read the company’s email newsletters, and its websites recently underwent their first update in more than a decade. More improvements are coming in the near future.
Alex Agnew, the co-founder and president of Navigator Publishing, will remain with Maritime Publishing as associate publisher and consultant. Navigator’s editorial and sales staffs have joined the new company and will continue to work from their office in downtown Portland, Maine.
“I am very excited to be passing the torch to Dave and his team at Maritime Publishing,” Agnew said. “I believe they will elevate the already outstanding content that we have been known for and provide resources to expand our efforts in both print and digital media. We could not think of a better successor to carry on our legacy.”
Maritime Publishing has already invested in Professional Mariner and its three sister magazines. The company hired journalists in Southern California and Alaska, giving the magazine access to experienced writers based in West Coast maritime hubs. Professional Mariner will open a Gulf Coast bureau later this spring, and it has outfitted reporters and editors with new hardware, software and communications tools.
Maritime Publishing will partner with TRLMI to expand the audience and attract new paid subscribers for the four magazines. This broader reach will provide new opportunities for advertisers to reach potential customers through tailored print, digital and email marketing campaigns.
Abrams has a proven background that includes managing public and private businesses. But he is no stranger to the maritime industry. In addition to running TRLMI, Abrams is a former U.S. Navy surface warfare officer and currently holds a U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton master license. He is an authorized instructor for the Coast Guard Auxiliary’s Boating Skills and Seamanship program and the National Safe Boating Council’s “Boat Control On-Water” training course.
Abrams also has owned both powerboats and sailboats, and has cruised his current vessel, Lahaina Sailor, a 58-foot Cape Horn trawler, over 5,000 miles between British Columbia and the Sea of Cortez.
“My interest in publishing arose from a desire to help mariners stay educated and informed, not just through historical practices associated with training, but through current industry news and events,” he said. “For me, it’s all about the mariner and the overall maritime community. Helping people connect with each other through the various training and media platforms is the ultimate goal.”