The Ancient and Honourable Fraternity of Royal Ark Mariner, more commonly known as Mariners, has been under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons since 1871 and is governed by the Grand Master’s Royal Ark Council. Lodges are attached to Mark Lodges assuming their Number on the Roll and, to be a member, the candidate must have been advanced as a Mark Master Mason.
There the similarity ends. In chronological terms it precedes the Mark Degree 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 we meet in Freemasonry.
It is thought that it was 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.
The ceremony in which a brother is elevated 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.