National Maritime Day

Next Thursday, 22 May 2025

National Maritime Day is an annual celebration of the ocean trade and industry that has been a part of American life and growth from the very beginning. The day is celebrated on May 22.

The History

The Maritime industry is primarily an industry of commercial shipping and America has always been reliant on commercial shipping across oceans. The Maritime industry also played a role in powering America towards independence. Over one hundred years before independence the British economist Josiah Childs, when discussing ship building in New England, said “There is nothing more prejudicial, and, in prospect, more dangerous to Mother Kingdom [the United Kingdom] than the increase of Shipping in her Colonies, Plantations, or Provinces.”

During the 19th century the civil war had an impact on the production of boats, in 1866 there were 1388 American ships involved in international trade, thirty four years later there were only 817 boats, accounting for less than 10% of the international fleets that carried goods into American ports.  One reason for this was the vast expansion of the navy in this same period, meaning that resources were used to build navy boats instead of boats for commercial shipping.

Maritime technology also advanced during the 19th century. for example, In 1819 the steamboat named Savannah became the first steam powered ship to cross the Atlantic, and the National Maritime day commemorates the date of this first crossing. The first National Maritime Day was agreed by congress in 1933. 

The Celebration

Maritime Day has a different theme each year. The theme of National Maritime Day this year is 'Culture, Climate, and Commitment: The Future of the Merchant Marine', and online discussions in seminars will be held. In some cities around America there are family friendly activities taking place which aim to raise awareness and educate the public on the importance of maritime shipping. 

National Maritime Day
National Maritime Day

National Maritime Day - Next years

Friday, 22 May 2026

Saturday, 22 May 2027

Monday, 22 May 2028

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