Paul Kirchner is Senior Advisor to the International Maritime Pilots’ Association (IMPA). He was the Executive Director-General Counsel of the American Pilots’ Association (APA) in Washington, D. C. from 1992 to 2020 and was Senior Counsel to that association from 2021 to 2022. Prior to joining the APA in 1992, he was in private practice with the maritime law firm of Kurrus and Kirchner.
Mr. Kirchner has represented pilots and the interests of the piloting profession before the United States Congress, federal agencies, and state and local legislative and administrative bodies since graduating from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1978. He has testified and commented on, and assisted in the drafting of, pilotage laws and regulations, both federal and state. He has advised pilot groups and pilotage authorities on the operations, practices, business structures, and oversight of pilots and pilotage systems. He is a frequent speaker and writer on various aspects of the piloting profession and navigation safety.
From 1994 to 2004, Mr. Kirchner served as chairman of the Pilotage Law Subcommittee of the U.S. Maritime Law Association’s then Committee on Navigation and Coast Guard. In 1993, Mr. Kirchner developed, and until 2020 administered, the APA’s Bridge Resource Management for Pilots training program. He also teaches several proprietary courses on the Legal Aspects of Pilotage.
Since 1997, Mr. Kirchner has been a member of United States or IMPA delegations to over 65 meetings of International Maritime Organization committees and subcommittees. At the 33rd session of the STW Subcommittee in 2002, Mr. Kirchner was chairman of the drafting group that prepared the final text of what was subsequently issued as IMO Resolution A.960 (XXIII) setting international guidelines on the training, certification, and operations of maritime pilots.
In 2022, Mr. Kirchner was made an Honorary Life Member of both IMPA and the APA.