CORRECTION: The first paragraph of this blog was edited to reflect the year 1819. It was corrected to fix a typo; the original post stated 1891. Thank you to our readers who brought this to our attention.
From the desk of Rear Adm. Paul Thomas, assistant commandant for prevention policy
Each year on May 22, we celebrate National Maritime Day. The day traces its roots to May 22, 1819, when the SS Savannah left it’s homeport of Savannah, Georgia on its way to Liverpool, England. Just 29 days later, the SS Savannah became the first steamship to successfully complete a transatlantic voyage.
Since that first annual celebration of the professional mariner, National Maritime Day has evolved into a day on which we honor the U.S. mariner and reflect on the impact they have on our great country.
The mariners’ role in driving the U.S. – and global – economies has far-reaching impacts. Each and every day, merchant mariners make unrivaled contributions to our nation and our nation’s economy. According to the American Association of Port Authorities, 23.1 million jobs are supported by U.S. coastal seaports. In addition, marine cargo transportation generated $4.6 trillion work of economic activity and contributed 26 percent to the U.S. gross domestic product in 2015. Those numbers speak for themselves.
The Coast Guard is responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s ports and waterways – but we do not do that alone; we depend on mariners’ cooperation and support. Their hard work is vital to our economy and the strength of our nation.
On National Maritime Day, we also honor those who have given their lives while serving in the maritime domain. We recognize that their work is not free of risks – the recent loss of the cargo ship El Faro is an example.
Our dedication to ensuring mariner safety is unwavering – the Coast Guard is diligently investigating the El Faro incident in hopes that the findings will bring tangible outcomes that will allow us to minimize these incidents in the future.
Today, tomorrow, and every day, I thank mariners for the work they do, I greatly appreciate their professionalism and dedication to our nation.
This blog is not a replacement or substitute for the formal posting of regulations and updates or existing processes for receiving formal feedback of the same. Links provided on this blog will direct the reader to official source documents, such as the Federal Register, Homeport and the Code of Federal Regulations. These documents remain the official source for regulatory information published by the Coast Guard.