Professional History

Home|About Jim|Professional History
Professional History 2017-05-27T23:30:18+00:00

James (Jim) Delgado has 44 years of scientific expertise in marine archaeology and deep-sea exploration, in addition to a solid background in history, museums, and outreach through media, film, and publications.

James (Jim) Delgado has 44 years of scientific expertise in marine archaeology and deep-sea exploration, in addition to a solid background in history, museums, and outreach through media, film, and publications. He is a scholar and a world-recognized interpreter whose work has reached hundreds of millions of viewers around the world, especially through his six seasons of work as host of a National Geographic International Television series.

Jim has extensive experience implementing projects around the world, often through public/private partnerships. He served as the founding director of the National Park Service’s maritime preservation program during a 13-year career with the NPS. Many of the U.S. Government’s standards for historic maritime resources were developed by him or under his direction during those years. He left the government to serve, for 15 years, as the Executive Director of the Vancouver (Canada) Maritime Museum, and concurrently as a TV host for Discovery, the History Channel, A&E and National Geographic.

After leaving the museum, he became President and CEO of the non-profit Institute of Nautical Archaeology, the world’s leading institute for the excavation and study of some of the world’s most significant shipwrecks for nearly five years before joining NOAA as Director of Maritime Heritage in NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, a position he held from 2010-2017.

In May of 2017, Jim began a new chapter of his career as Senior Vice President of SEARCH, Inc., an organization dedicated to preserving archaeological cultural resources, among other initiatives.

His own field work has included some of history’s most famous wrecks, including USS Monitor, the lost fleet of Kublai Khan, the Civil War submarine, Explorer, USS Arizona, and the atomic-bombed fleet of warships at Bikini Atoll. He also served as chief scientist for the first full 3-D mapping of the Titanic site, was a lead in the deep-sea excavation of a 200-year old wreck in the Gulf of Mexico and in the discovery of the wreck of the WWII Japanese super-submarine I-400.

Jim holds a Ph.D. in Archaeology from Simon Fraser University, has a M.A. in Maritime Studies from East Carolina University, and he earned his B.A. in History from San Francisco State University. He has published actively in leading archaeology and history journals and has written or edited more than 33 books on archaeology and history.

Jim’s recent book titles include The Lost Submarines of Pearl Harbor: The Rediscovery and Archaeology of Japan’s Top-Secret Midget Submarines of World War II and The Maritime Landscape of the Isthmus of Panama, both published in 2016. Read more about his books here. Jim is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, the Canadian Geographical Society, and the Explorers’ Club, and was made Officer of the Order of Civil Merit by His Majesty King Juan Carlos of Spain.