The Association was founded in 1810 to protect the interests of sailing ship owners in Parliament and elsewhere. In 1884 it formed a joint committee with the Liverpool Steamship Owners' Association and by 1895 represented about 800,000 tons of shipping, including steamers. In 1914 a substantial coastal steamship section was added. By 1928 the Association represented 182 steamers of 254,907 tons and one sailing ship of 100 tons. In 1988 the Association merged with the Liverpool Steamship Owners' Association.
Unfortunately, no records survive before the Association's incorporation in 1888. However, its surviving records include those of two mutual insurance associations - the Liverpool Shipowners' Freight, Demurrage and Defence Association Ltd., and the Liverpool Sailing Ship Owners' Mutual Protection and Indemnity Association Ltd. These were established to protect members' uninsured risks. There was also a Liverpool Sailing Ship Owners' Mutual Indemnity Association in 1889, which was probably the forerunner of the latter association. A list of its members is in the DX collection. The records also contain the minutes of the Garston Dock Joint Shipowners' and Coal Shippers' Committee which reflects the importance of coasting members. See attached list.