James "Jim" Delgado joined INA in 2006 after he ended his 15-year career as Executive Director of the Vancouver Maritime Museum in Vancouver, British Columbia and in April, 2008, the INA Board of Directors elected him President. In October 2010, Dr. Delgado joined the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration as Director of Maritime Heritage. Previously, 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 Dr. Delgado’s five-year tenure, INA completed its first ever strategic plan, raised substantial funding to conduct significant excavations and surveys around the world, launching a new publications program and website, and increasing its global profile. INA’s Dr. George F. Bass, the “father of underwater archaeology,” noted that Dr. Delgado has been “the most professional president INA has had, and only one I had ever had in mind to preside over INA.” Dr. Charles Garrison, chairman of the board of directors during Jim's final year as president, noted that “INA hired Dr. Delgado to be INA’s agent of change and to develop and pursue our strategic plan with the board, staff and affiliated faculty. He has done all of that, and more to make INA sustainable in the decades to come.”
Throughout his extensive career, Dr. Delgado has led or participated in numerous shipwreck expeditions around the world. His undersea explorations include RMS Titanic, the more recent 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, and the 1846 wreck of the United States naval brig Somers, whose tragic story inspired Herman Melville’s Billy Budd. His archaeological work has also included the excavation of ships and collapsed buildings along the now-buried waterfront of Gold Rush San Francisco. At the end of his tenure with INA, field projects included an archaeological survey in Panama at the entrance to the Rio Chagres, and an ongoing project to document the 1865 American-built submersible Sub Marine Explorer in Panama's Pearl Islands.
A Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and a Fellow of the Explorers Club, Dr. Delgado is the author or editor of over 30 books and numerous articles, most recently Misadventures of a Civil War Submarine: Iron, Guns, and Pearls published by Texas A&M University Press, March 2012 and Silent Killers: Submarines and Underwater Warfare, Osprey Publishing, June 2011. While INA's president, he published three titles; Nuclear Dawn: The Atomic Bomb from the Manhattan Project to the Cold War, "Khubilai Khan's Lost Fleet: In Search of a Legendary Armada," and "Gold Rush Port: The Maritime Archaeology of the San Francisco Waterfront," all released in 2009. His books "Lost 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 The British Museum Encyclopaedia of Underwater and Maritime Archaeology"; "Ghost Fleet: The Sunken Ships of Bikini Atoll," "Pearl Harbor Recalled: New Images from the Day of Infamy," "Great American Ships," "To California by Sea: A Maritime History of the Gold Rush" and three books for children, "Wrecks of American Warships," "Native American Shipwrecks," and "Shipwrecks of the Westward Movement."
Dr. Delgado co-hosted "The Sea 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 enjoys a hands-on approach to preservation, and most recently 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.