The Ancient and Honourable Fraternity of Royal Ark Mariner, more commonly known as RAM, has been under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons since 1871 and governed by the Grand Master’s Royal Ark Council. However, its early history is obscure. Statutes refer to Grand Lodge being reconstituted in 1772. It is recorded that the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons took possession of the rights to the Grand Lodge of Royal Ark Mariner on 10 June 1884 for just £25.

Lodges are attached or moored, to Mark Lodges assuming their Number in the Roll and to be a member the Candidate has to have been advanced as a Mark Master Mason. There the similarity ends. In chronological terms, it precedes the Mark by hundreds of years because it relates to the building and voyage of Noah’s Ark and the Great Flood and has none of the other characters that we meet in Freemasonry.

There are no individual Ranks within either Province or Grand Lodge. Brethren holding those Ranks suffix their name with Royal Ark Mariner Provincial Grand Rank or Royal Ark Mariner Grand Rank. The Grand Master of the Mark is, ipso facto, the Grand Master of the Degree of Royal Ark Mariner.


The degree of Royal Ark Mariner has been under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons since 1871. Prior to that date, it had been worked in various other Lodges, especially Mark lodges. The Mark Grand Master is also “Grand Master of the Ancient and Honourable Fraternity of Royal Ark Mariners”, and administers it through the Grand Master’s Royal Ark Council. Similarly, each Mark Provincial Grand Master has jurisdiction over all RAM lodges within his Province.

Royal Ark Mariner’s Degree

Royal Arch Mariners Degree Lodges or R A M Lodges, bears the same name and number as that of the Mark Lodge of the station to which it said to be moored.  The fact remains that the Royal Ark Mariners Degree stands entirely alone and totally unrelated to any other degree in Freemasonry. Membership of a craft Lodge alone will not entitle you to be qualified to seek membership in RAM Degree; you should also be a Mark Master Mason; and that perhaps makes this Degree unique.

The earliest document available dates back to 1795, but there are indications that this Degree was worked in Cornville in England in 1780 and Bath in England in 1790.  Both the Duke of Sussex, the Most Worshipful Grand Master of “Moderns” and Duke of Kent, the Most Worshipful the Grand Master of the “Ancients” were members of the Royal Ark Mariners Lodge and it is but natural to surmise that the degree received the appellation ‘ROYAL’   from the association of these two Royal personages.

There is a strong suggestion that this degree originated from the operatives, not from operative masons but from operative carpenters, for, there were carpenter’s guilds functioning in England and elsewhere during the early 17th century. 


The candidate who joins RAM Degree is called “NOACHIDA” meaning ‘new child’ and represents the distressed man trying to flee away from the impending disaster of the deluge of unrighteousness, wickedness etc. that surround him and trying to take refuge in the ark. The Lodge is arranged in the shape of an equilateral triangle, to resemble the interior of the ark, and the principal officers occupy the corners.  The equilateral triangle, being a perfect geometrical shape is adopted from time immemorial by many religions to depict the Almighty. The angles also symbolise wisdom, strength and beauty.

The Rainbow, one of the most beautiful natural phenomena is adopted as a powerful symbol in this Degree. “Even the proverbial ‘pot of gold’ at the end of the rainbow leads us to wishes, hopes, and promises. Is it any wonder, then, that the sight of a rainbow in the sky usually gladdens the heart? The Rainbow appearing over the throne of God (Revelation 4.3) is a constant reminder of His infinite mercy in sustaining mankind.   It is an emblem of the hither to unbroken covenant of God to Noah to protect mankind from perishing.

The cardinal teaching of Royal Ark Masonry is righteous living.  As God made man in his own image and so expects him to be perfect as his father in heaven is perfect. God intended his creation to be a thing of beauty to be cherished.  He gave man the strength to overcome evils and enjoy the nectar of his divine creation.  He gave him enough wisdom to think deep into the meaning of creation and realise his own part to be played in it. But man has lost his direction due to his fascination for unreal pleasures of this mundane existence.

It is the essential nature of a being that determines its mode of behaviour.  So long as our conduct is in conformity with our essential nature, we are acting in the right way.  Unrighteousness is nonconformity to our nature”.  The creator cannot remain a dumb spectator when unrighteousness reaches a saturation point and proves to be a menace to the lawful.  HE is not one beyond good and evil, remote and unconcerned with man’s struggle with righteousness. The RAM teaches us to build an ark in our minds and preserve our traditional norms and values from the decadent cultural deluge that threatens us.