What is the Degree of Royal Ark Mariners? It is formally titled the Ancient and Honourable Fraternity of Royal Ark Mariners but is more commonly known as “RAM” or “Mariners”.? It has been under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons since 1871. ?Lodges are attached to Mark Lodges assuming their Number in the Roll.? There the similarity ends. Chronologically it precedes the Mark Degree and concerns the building and voyage of Noah’s Ark and the Great Flood.?
Background and History It is thought that it was originally a Degree for carpenters and woodworkers as in the past those trades were more closely associated with stonemasons than is the case today. Its early history is obscure. Statutes refer to Grand Lodge being reconstituted in 1772. ?By 1900 there were some fifty Lodges in England and Wales with others in Australia and India. Today there are some 780 Lodges in England and Wales
How is it organised? The Degree of Royal Ark Mariner is attached to and administered by the Most Worshipful Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons with the assistance of a Board called the Grand Master’s Royal Ark Council. Each Royal Ark Mariner Lodge takes the same name as the Mark Lodge unless dispensation from the Grand Master is given for an alternative.
Ritual and Ceremonies The Ceremony in which a Brother is Elevated is taken from the VSL and symbolises wisdom strength and beauty which are relevant not only in the construction of the Ark but also for their moral significations to the Candidate as an individual. The tracing board of the Degree is unusual in that it contains symbols of many of the other orders in Masonry.
Who can join? The Degree is open to all Mark Master Masons.
How often are the meetings? Most Lodges meet 3-4 times a year.
Does it cost much? Subscriptions are much less than the Craft and there is a one-off Elevation fee.
What is the regalia? The Regalia comprises an Apron which is boarded by a rainbow ribbon with similar rosettes. The breast jewel is of a dove bearing an olive branch suspended from a rainbow attached to a rainbow coloured ribbon. Commanders and Past Commanders (equivalent to Masters and Past Masters in the Craft) exchange the rosettes for silver triangles and wear a breast jewel of a triangle surmounted by the letter N.? Provincial Officers wear a collarette from which is suspended a silver Ark. Grand Officers exchange the silver detail for gold. There are no individual ranks within either Province or Grand Lodge.
Why should I join? There are many reasons including the close relationship with the MMM order the “friendly degree”.? Another attraction is that the RAM features characters quite unrelated to other orders in Freemasonry.
Which Lodge should I join? There are 15 RAM Lodges in the province of Cumberland and Westmorland covering the majority of Masonic centres.? Hence most MMMs will easily find the Lodge which best suits them.