PAMGUARD is open‐source, platform‐independent software to address the needs of developers and users of Passive Acoustic Monitoring (PAM) systems. For the PAM operator—marine mammal biologist, manager, or mitigator—PAMGUARD provides a flexible and easy‐to‐use suite of detection, localization, data management, and display modules. These provide a standard interface across different platforms with the flexibility to allow multiple detectors to be added, removed, and configured according to the species of interest and the hardware configuration on a particular project. For developers of PAM systems, an Application Programming Interface (API) has been developed which contains standard classes for the efficient handling of many types of data, interfaces to acquisition hardware and to databases, and a GUI framework for data display. PAMGUARD replicates and exceeds the capabilities of earlier real time monitoring programs such as the IFAW Logger Suite and Ishmael. Ongoing developments include improved real‐time location and automated species classification.