Albert W. Gatov, 71, who was chairman of the Federal Maritime Board during the Truman administration, died of cancer Nov. 17 at his home in Kentfield, Calif., a suburb of San Francisco.

At the time of his death, Mr. Gatov was serving by appointment of President Carter on the National Advisory Commissions on Oceans and Atmosphere.

His wife, the former Elizabeth Rudel Smith, was treasurer of the United States during the Kennedy administration.

Born in New York, the son of Russian immigrate, Mr. Gatov attended schools in southern California and became a specialist in ocean shipping management. After army service during World War II, he became president of the Pacific-American Steamship Association.

In 1950, he was appointed by Truman to the Federal Maritime Board, and in 1952 was named as its chairman. His term ended in 1953. The board now is known as the Federal Maritime Commission. It regulates U.S. oceanic shipping operations.

In 1965, he was appointed by Gov. Edmund G. (Pat) Brown Sr. as a member of the California Public Utilities Commission on which he served until 1970. He also served from 1962 to 1965 as a member of the International North Pacific Fisheries Commission. At his death, he was president of the San Francisco Maritime Museum Association.

He was married twice, the second time in 1962, to the former Elizabeth Smith. Other survivors include two daughters, Barbara Gatov, of Pacifica, Calif., and Catherine Gatov, of Point Reyer Station, Calif.; two brothers, Max, of Long Beach, Calif., and Meyer, of Claremont, Calif., a sister, Freda Kleinman of Laguna Hills, Calif., and five grandchildren.