The maritime professionals who sail the ships on the Great Lakes are celebrating the 100th anniversary of their fraternal organization, the I. M. S. A. whose purpose is stated in the Association's constitution, "The purpose of this association's constitution shall be to unite all shipmasters and licensed merchant marine officers of the Great Lakes and tributary waters of good moral character, to elevate the character of its members and their profession, and to promote the safety of the Great Lakes profession." The I. M. S. A. traces its origin to the Port of Buffalo, New York where, in the winter of 1886, the death of the first mate on the steamer "Boston" brought concern for his widow. The local masters and mates upon learning of the situation took up a collection and the Excelsior Marine Benevolent Association was created. This association was set up to establish an endowment fund to financially assist the survivors of the mariners who passed on. Word of the Association's good works spread across the lakes. Lodges were formed in a number of ports. The first convention of all the lodges of the Association was held in Buffalo, New York in January 1891. At the third convention held in Port Huron, Michigan in 1893 the name of the organization was was changed to the Shipmasters' Association. Subsequently, the title International was added as it represents both the American and the Canadian seafarer. In commemoration of the I. S. M. A. Centennial 1886 - 1986.