Witherby Publishing Group

Witherby Publishing Group, formerly known as Witherby Seamanship, is a publisher of maritime, nautical and navigation training, reference and regulatory materials.[1] The company is the resulting merger of Witherby Books and Seamanship International in January 2008.[1] Beginning with its origins in 1740 it lays claim to being the oldest independent publisher in the English-speaking world.[4][5][6]

Witherby Publishing Group Ltd.
Witherby Publishing Group Logo.png
FounderThomas Witherby
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Headquarters locationEdinburgh, Scotland, UK
Key peopleIain Macneil, CEO. Kat Heathcote, Commercial Director [1] Gillian Macrosson, MD[2]
Revenue£10 Million[3]
No. of employees55[1]
Official websitewww.witherbypublishinggroup.com

Witherby are the official electronic distributors for the International Maritime Organization and publish work with numerous shipping bodies. These include the International Chamber of Shipping, the UK Chamber of Shipping, BIMCO, OCIMF and SIGTTO.[7][8] Witherby are the sole official distributor of INTERTANKO publications.[9] The company also publishes for North P&I, UK P&I Club, IMAREST, the International Association of Classification Societies and the Merchant Navy Training Board.[10]


Witherby continue the tradition of publishing and bookselling initially started by Thomas Witherby in 1740. The collections of the early Witherby company are available at the London Metropolitan Archives.[11] In 1998 Seamanship International began providing training materials for the maritime industry from Scotland and in 2008 the company bought out and merged with Witherbys moving the entire business to Scotland.[12][13] The company has since expanded to become one of the largest maritime publishers in the world, publishing over 400 titles to over 110 countries in the world.[14][1][10] It is estimated that there are more than a million Witherby ebooks in use on over 40,000 ships.[13]


The company has registered offices in Edinburgh, Scotland, with the main offices and warehouse being located in Livingston, Scotland.[15]


Witherbys publishes on a range of maritime technical and operational subjects including navigation, Ballast Water Management, ECDIS, oil tanker operations, LNG tanker operations, seamanship, ship stability and passage planning.[16]

In February 2019, in conjunction with BIMCO and International Shipcare, Witherbys released the 'Ship Lay-up Guide'.[17]

In response to IMO efforts to require cyber security to be addressed under the International Safety Management Code, in November 2019, together with BIMCO and the International Chamber of Shipping Witherbys published the Cyber Security Workbook for Onboard Ship Use.[18][19] A second edition was published in October 2020.[20][21]

On behalf of OCIMF and the International Chamber of Shipping, the company publishes the International Safety Guide for Oil Tankers and Terminals (ISGOTT), which is used as a reference guide on most oil tankers and in most terminals.[22][23] A sixth edition of ISGOTT was published in June 2020.[24]


Awards for the publisher have included the Queens Award for Enterprise, a Lloyds List Training Award and a Green Award.[2][25][26] In March 2017, the company won the Sea Transport Award for 'best marine training material publishing company'.[27]


In 2020, the company funded two publishing scholarships with Edinburgh Napier University and the University of Stirling.[28]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Scots marine publisher helps Australians navigate Barrier Reef". Herald Scotland. Retrieved 13 July 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Gillian Macrosson: new Witherbys MD". Publishing Scotland. Retrieved 13 July 2017.
  3. ^ "Specialist publisher weathers the storm". Herald Scotland. Retrieved 16 June 2020.
  4. ^ "Witherby Seamanship International Ltd". Publishing Scotland. Archived from the original on 24 February 2011. Retrieved 24 February 2011.
  5. ^ "2015 Company Fact Sheet" (PDF). Retrieved 19 May 2015.
  6. ^ "Witherby History". Retrieved 19 May 2015.
  7. ^ "Chamber of Shipping and Witherby". Retrieved 1 July 2016.
  8. ^ "International Chamber of Shipping and Witherby". Retrieved 1 July 2016.
  9. ^ "INTERTANKO and Witherby". Retrieved 3 July 2016.
  10. ^ a b "2017 Company Fact Sheet" (PDF). Witherby Publishing Group. Retrieved 13 July 2017.
  11. ^ "London Metropolitan Archives-Thomas Witherby". Retrieved 1 July 2016.
  12. ^ "Witherby Company History". Retrieved 1 July 2016.
  13. ^ a b "Books from Scotland". Retrieved 1 June 2020.
  14. ^ "Herald Scotland - Witherby on the Crest of a wave". Retrieved 1 July 2016.
  15. ^ "Witherby - Today". Retrieved 1 July 2016.
  16. ^ "How to ensure VSAT modems cannot be hacked". Riviera Maritime. Retrieved 16 June 2020.
  17. ^ "Witherbys Releases Ship Lay-up Guide". Marine Link. Retrieved 16 June 2020.
  18. ^ "Book Review: Cyber Security Workbook for On Board Ship Use". Maritime Executive. Retrieved 16 June 2020.
  19. ^ "How to ensure VSAT modems cannot be hacked". Riviera Maritime. Retrieved 16 June 2020.
  20. ^ "Keeping ahead of digilisation". Hellenic Shipping News. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  21. ^ "ICS - Cyber Security Workbook". International Chamber of Shipping. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  22. ^ "ISGOTT". OCIMF. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  23. ^ "ISGOTT". Maritime Executive News. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  24. ^ "Yodated edition of ISGOTT publushed". Hellenic Shipping News. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  25. ^ "Marine publisher goes Green". Green Awards. Retrieved 13 July 2017.
  26. ^ "WITHERBY GROUP, Joins Green Awards schemen". Shippingnet.eu. Retrieved 13 July 2017.
  27. ^ "Transport News Sea Transport Awards 2017". Transport News. Retrieved 13 July 2017.
  28. ^ "Witherby, with Edinburgh Napier and Stirling, launches publishing scholarships". The Bookseller. Retrieved 25 November 2020.

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