Initially the Institute of Marine Engineers existed in India as a division of Institute of Marine Engineers, London. Thereafter, The Institute of Marine Engineers (India) was registered as a Society under the Societies Registration Act XXI of 1860 on 29 October 1977. The first Governing Council of the Institute was formed in 1980. The Institute was subsequently registered as a Charitable Organisation under Bombay Public Trust Act 1950 on 31 May 1982.

The objects and purposes for which the Institute is constituted are to promote the scientific development of Marine Engineering in all its branches and in the furtherance of such knowledge, to enable Marine Engineers to meet and correspond to facilitate the inter change of ideas in respect of improvements and improved methods of working machinery, to publish and communicate information on such objects, to uphold the status of members of the Institute by prescribing or holding examination for candidates for election or by requiring standards of knowledge and experience which can be approved, to cooperate with Universities, other educational institutions and public educational bodies for the furtherance of education in engineering science, and to constitute and maintain a Benevolence fund, for affording relief to indigent members of the Institute and the families of deceased members. This fund, being solely devoted to granting financial assistance after defraying expenses, to be known as the “Benevolence Fund”, and to operate as per specific guidelines formulated by the Institute.