Navigating the Future: Celebrating National Maritime Day USA

May 22, 2024 · 8 mins read ·

Maritime Industry
AI generated image of a port in the USA celebrating National Maritime Day

If you read our blog post earlier this week you’ll have seen that we’ve broken from tradition and instead of publishing posts on Tuesdays and Thursdays like we normally do, this week we’ve opted for posting on Monday and Wednesday instead. And that’s because today is National Maritime Day in the USA and it was too good an opportunity to miss!

By the way, in case you haven’t read it yet, Monday’s post was on a similar theme and was about European Maritime Day, which was observed on Monday 20th May.

So what is a National Maritime Day and how can you celebrate it?

What is National Maritime Day in the USA?

Each year on May 22nd, the United States celebrates National Maritime Day. This day is set aside to recognize the significant contributions of the American maritime industry, both past and present, and to acknowledge the indispensable role it plays in economic development, national security, and sustainability. 

Sustainability, of course, is something that many Governments and their agencies are particularly concerned about currently and shipping companies across the globe are increasingly looking for ways to make their business more sustainable. 

As a whole, many players in the maritime industry are committed to advancing environmentally sustainable practices, highlighting innovations in green technology, and promoting sustainable shipping methods that can lead to a more eco-friendly future. 

Read more: August 7th is National Lighthouse Day USA

As such, National Maritime Day is a good time to reflect upon both a respect for maritime traditions and adopt a forward-thinking attitude towards the challenges of modernity. 

And of course, National Maritime Day is not just a day of thinking about technology and the planet or one of remembrance; it is also a celebration of the enduring spirit of American maritime professionals and their vital contributions to the country's prosperity.

The history of National Maritime Day in the United States

National Maritime Day was first established by Congress in 1933 to commemorate the American steamship Savannah's voyage from the United States to England. This event, which took place on May 22, 1819, marked the first successful crossing of the Atlantic Ocean using steam propulsion. 

The observance of this day honors the bravery of those who sail both the nation's waters and the globe's, as well as the skill of those who build and maintain vessels, and the dedication of all who contribute to the maritime industry.

As usual, the annual National Maritime Day USA has a theme, this year being “Navigating the Future! Safety First".

Read more: National Maritime Day USA: Facts & Stats

How to observe National Maritime Day in the USA

National Maritime Day offers a variety of ways for citizens to engage with and appreciate maritime culture, history, and the ongoing contributions of the industry. Here are some meaningful activities and events that you can participate in to mark the day:

Attend Maritime Day ceremonies and events

For example, why not see if any of the following are happening in your local area on or around National Maritime Day?

Memorial services: Many ports and maritime organizations hold memorial services to honor those who have lost their lives at sea. Attending such services can be a profound way to observe the day.

Open days in maritime museums and institutions: Maritime museums across the country often host special exhibitions or open days with free or reduced entry. This is a great way to learn about maritime history and current maritime technology advancements.

Wreath-laying ceremonies: Wreath-laying ceremonies are a traditional way to pay tribute to fallen mariners. These are often solemn, reflective events that offer a moment to appreciate the bravery of those who navigate our waters, whether they're working on naval or commercial vessels.

Book onto an educational program or workshop

If you’ve always wanted to know more about life at sea, the maritime industry or the sustainability aspect of the shipping sector, an educational activity could be ideal. 

Lectures and seminars: Look for lectures and seminars focusing on maritime history, environmental conservation in shipping, and the future of maritime technology.

Community workshops: Participate in workshops that teach maritime skills such as knot tying, navigation, and understanding nautical charts. These can be particularly fun and educational for children, helping to foster a new generation's interest in maritime pursuits.

Participate in environmental conservation efforts

A fantastic way to celebrate National Maritime Day in the USA is to roll your sleeves up and get your hands dirty by helping improve the world we live in. For example:

Beach clean-ups: If you live within fairly easy access of a beach or shoreline, join a beach clean-up to help preserve marine environments. Nothing happening in your local area? There’s nothing stopping you from organizing your own beach clean-up!

Support sustainable seafood initiatives: Use the day to educate yourself and others about sustainable seafood, and support businesses that adhere to responsible fishing practices.

Engage with the maritime community online

You might be miles away from the nearest ocean or even inland body of water but not to worry. If your immediate surroundings are more desert or prairie than lake or river, you can still take part in National Maritime Day by hopping onto your laptop or phone.

Virtual tours: Some institutions may offer virtual tours of ships, shipyards, or maritime facilities. These can provide insight into the daily operations and challenges faced by maritime professionals. You may also find that some maritime museums offer virtual tours of their collections or exhibitions too.

Social media engagement: Share stories, post about your National Maritime Day activities, or participate in forums discussing maritime issues. This can be a great way to spread awareness and engage with a broader community interested in maritime topics. Don't forget to tag your posts with the hashtag #NationalMaritimeDay.

National Maritime Day USA: Final thoughts

National Maritime Day, in any country, is a day of pride, reflection, and education. It provides an opportunity not only to honor those who have contributed to the maritime industry but also to recognize the critical role this sector plays in our lives today. 

Whether you're directly involved in the shipping industry or simply someone who is interested in maritime heritage, participating in the day's events can deepen your appreciation for this vital sector. Let's navigate towards a more sustainable and safer future, guided by the legacy and ongoing efforts of North America's maritime professionals.

Eve Church

Eve Church

Eve is Martide's content writer, publishing regular posts on everything from our maritime recruitment and crew planning software to life at sea. Eve has been writing professionally for more than two decades, crafting everything from SEO-focused blog posts and website landing pages to magazine articles and corporate whitepapers.


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