Mystic Seaport honored Charles A. Robertson with the Museum’s America and the Sea Award on November 5, 2014. Presented annually by Mystic Seaport, the award recognizes an individual or organization whose contribution to the history, arts, business, or sciences of the sea best exemplify the American character. Robertson received the prestigious award at a gala held in his honor in New York City.
The America and the Sea Award honors and celebrates those who embrace the scholarship, exploration, adventure, aesthetics, competition, and freedom the sea inspires. Distinguished past recipients include world-class sailor Gary Jobson (2013), founder of WoodenBoat publications Jon Wilson (2012), former Secretary of the Navy John Lehman (2011), oceanographer and deep sea explorer Sylvia Earle (2010), maritime collector and yachtsman William I. Koch (2009), president and CEO of Crowley Maritime Corporation, Thomas B. Crowley Jr. (2008), Pulitzer Prize-winning author and historian David McCullough (2007), and famed yacht designer Olin Stephens (2006).
Robertson is founder, chairman and CEO of American Cruise Lines, Inc., Pearl Sea Cruises, Chesapeake Shipbuilding, and affiliated companies. His firms have designed and built 12 small cruise ships and approximately 70 other commercial vessels, up to 320 feet.
Engaged in the maritime industry since 1973, Robertson pioneered the small ship cruise industry in the United States with his founding of American Cruise Lines, now the largest cruise company in the country. He is also a recognized expert on cruise ship regulations in the United States. He holds a USCG Master’s License and First Class Pilot’s License for unlimited tonnage and has been an expert witness for the United States Coast Guard before the NTSB and Congressional Committees.
An avid sailor, he has won national and international events, including the Newport Bermuda Race, Queen’s Cup, and the National Championship in the Atlantic Class. An active commercial pilot, Robertson regularly flies modified ex-military aircraft and participates in shows and demonstrations around the country.
He and his wife, Carol, reside in Talbot County, Maryland, and Old Saybrook, Connecticut. Their three sons, Charles, Clark, and Carter, are involved in family business interests. Robertson has served as a Trustee of Mystic Seaport since 1989.