The Cornish Pilot Gig Association was established in 1986 to uphold the specification of the vessel and the Cornish Pilot Gigs.

These original boat plans were drawn up by boat builder, Ralph Bird. In the early days the CPGA only had one officer, a Chairperson who was also responsible for measuring the boats.

Some existing gig and rowing clubs joined the CPGA and as the popularity of the sport spread, the CPGA gained many new members. The CPGA gradually evolved to meet the needs of Clubs, with new committee roles, policies and new procedures.

In 2016 the CPGA became a Charitable Incorporated Organisation in order to better achieve its aims, limit liability and accommodate the needs of its growing membership. In becoming a CIO the CPGA reviewed the structure of the organisation which is now led by trustees and supported by a team of volunteers.