The Institute was established in 1950 as the Maritime Technical Institute, in 1954 it changed its name to the present one. Initially, it was an independent scientific and research unit, reporting to the Ministry of Shipping and focusing on research related to shipbuilding, ports and port facilities, as well as methods and processes of technological implementation in the technological sector. In the next decades, the area of operation was extended to include: oceanography, geoengineering, marine electronics and informatics, ecology and environmental protection, which was accompanied by the development of staff, technical base and equipment, in particular the fleet of research vessels. On October 1, 2019, by the decision of the Minister of Science and Higher Education, it was incorporated into the structures of the Gdynia Maritime University. The needs of the joint maritime economy, for which the strategic designation is provided by the energy industry, have opened up new areas for the Maritime Institute. Research and development work is carried out for municipal, local and maritime administration and for companies connected with the maritime economy and the coastal region.
On October 1, 2019, by the decision of the Minister of Science and Higher Education, the Institute was incorporated into the structures of the Gdynia Maritime University. Maritime Institute of the Gdynia Maritime University is headed by the Director, Assoc. Prof. Maciej Matczak. It is divided into six specialized Departments dealing with individual areas of the Institute's operation and organization with different internal forms.
The Maritime Institute of the Gdynia Maritime University is an interdisciplinary unit and its activities have a direct impact primarily on the development of the broadly understood maritime economy. It conducts pre-investment research related to safety and environmental protection, offshore wind farms, laying undersea cables and pipelines, sanitary collectors, artificial reefs, as well as ecological research of protected marine waters. The Institute's innovative activities and research are conducted in the field of operational oceanography, hydrotechnics and maritime engineering, integrated coastal zone management and spatial planning of maritime waters and the coastal zone. The tasks of the Institute include monitoring and encouraging the flooding in the area of South Baltic in the context of environmental impact by the sea and inland shipping, sea and coastal tourism. This involves the monitoring of continuous phenomena and processes as well as the design and management of databases, as well as the implementation of innovative marine research and information technologies.