Clayton "Clay" Diamond
Executive Director- General Counsel, American Pilots Association
Clay Diamond is the Executive Director-General Counsel for the American Pilots’ Association (APA). Prior to that, he served 13 years as APA’s Deputy Director-Associate General Counsel. A 1989 graduate of the Coast Guard Academy, he also earned a Master’s Degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a Juris Doctor from Case Western Reserve University School of Law. During law school, he earned the award for “Highest Proficiency in Admiralty Law.” In addition, he was a Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for International Studies. He is admitted to the Ohio and District of Columbia Bars and is a member of the Maritime Law Association of the U.S.
As General Counsel, he represents pilots and the piloting profession before Congress, federal agencies, and State and local legislative and administrative bodies. He also advises pilot groups and pilotage authorities on operations, practices, business structures, and oversight of pilots and pilotage systems. He has served on more than fifty U.S. Delegations to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and currently serves as a subject matter expert on U.S. Delegations to IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee; Subcommittee on Navigation, Communications and Search and Rescue; and Subcommittee on the Human Element, Training and Watchkeeping. Mr. Diamond is also an instructor at the Maritime Institute of Technology & Graduate Studies, California Maritime Academy, and the Maritime Pilots Institute, where he teaches courses on the Legal Aspects of Pilotage. As Executive Director, he manages APA’s office operations, membership services, and administrative activities.
Mr. Diamond regularly speaks on pilotage and pilotage law and has been published in professional trade and law journals, including as co-author of “Unique Institutions, Indispensable Cogs, and Hoary Figures: Understanding Pilotage Regulation in the United States,” University of San Francisco Maritime Law Journal, 2010-11. He was also a contributing author for the book “IMPA on Pilotage” (2014 Witherby Publishing Group), and a contributing editor for a chapter in “The American Practical Navigator – Bowditch” (2017 Lighthouse Press).
In 2012, Mr. Diamond was appointed by the Secretary of Homeland Security to serve on the Navigation Safety Advisory Council, a federal advisory committee that provides navigational safety recommendations to the Commandant of the Coast Guard.
During his 20-year Coast Guard career, Mr. Diamond served aboard several Coast Guard cutters, culminating with command afloat. During these operational assignments, he was On-Scene Commander during the early hours of the 1996 crash of TWA Flight 800, participated in the seizure of over $300 million in illegal drugs, the interdiction of hundreds of illegal migrants in the Caribbean, and the execution of heavy weather search and rescue cases in the North Atlantic and Bering Sea.
In the legal field, Mr. Diamond served as regional counsel for Coast Guard operations in the eight Great Lakes states, Coast Guard Liaison to the State Department (where he was legal advisor to U.S. delegations to IMO), and as the Coast Guard’s Legislative Counsel. In addition, following 9/11 Mr. Diamond was the first Coast Guard lawyer assigned to support the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Military Commissions, where he served as a Special Advisor to the DoD General Counsel and assisted in preparing prosecution cases for some of the most significant terror suspects in U.S. custody. Mr. Diamond also served on the faculty of the Defense Institute for International Legal Studies where he conducted maritime law seminars in Asia, Africa, and Europe, and was also appointed as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.
In 2002, Mr. Diamond was chosen by the American Bar Association as the “Outstanding Young Military Lawyer.” Other honors include two Coast Guard Meritorious Service Medals, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the State Department Superior Honor Award and the NOAA General Counsel’s Award.
Mr. Diamond and his wife Sharon have two grown children and one grandchild and reside in Burke, Va.
 The APA, one of the country’s oldest trade associations, is the national association for the piloting profession. It was established in 1884 to protect and improve the state pilotage system, to maintain the highest possible professional standards for licensed pilots in the U.S., and to promote navigation safety. Virtually all of the more than 1,200 State-licensed pilots working in the 24 U.S. coastal States, as well as all of the U.S. registered pilots operating in the Great Lakes system under authorization by the Coast Guard, belong to APA member pilot groups. These pilots handle well over 90 percent of large ocean-going vessels moving in international trade in U.S. waterways. The role and official responsibility of these pilots is to protect the safety of navigation and the marine environment in the waters for which they are licensed.