The RMU occupies the premises of the old Ghana Nautical College which was established in 1958 to train ratings for the erstwhile State Shipping Corporation (Black Star Line). On 1stOctober, 1982, the Government of Ghana promulgated the Regional Maritime Law 1982 which was followed by the signing of the instrument of transfer, handing over the College to the then Ministerial Conference of West and Central African States on Maritime Transport (MINCONMAR), now known as Maritime Organization of West and Central Africa (MOWCA), which negotiated for its regionalization. The College was then re-named The Regional Maritime Academy (R.M.A.). The formal inauguration of the R.M.A. took place on Thursday 26th May, 1983 with the following countries as founding members: Republics of Cameroon, The Gambia, Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
The overall objective for the establishment of RMA was to promote regional co-operation in the maritime industry focusing on the training to ensure the sustained growth and development of the industry. The RMU also maintains the same overall objective.