National Maritime Day

National Maritime Day is celebrated annually on May 22nd. It is a holiday used to celebrate and honor not only the first steam-powered transoceanic voyage but also to honor the maritime traditions of the United States. It is a day to pay tribute to the special benefits that the country receives from the maritime industry and to pay homage to the merchant marines that make life in the U.S. possible.

The History of National Maritime Day

The history of this holiday can be traced back to May 20, 1933. This is when the U.S. Congress declared May 22nd to be National Maritime Day. This date was chosen because it is when the American steamship Savannah began its journey from Savannah, Georgia, on May 22, 1819. The Savannah made the first transoceanic voyage using steam power.

Interesting Maritime Facts

We wanted to do more than just give our readers a little bit of background information on National Maritime Day, so we decided to do some research and find out some interesting maritime facts that we could share with our readers. What we discovered was quite amazing, and we would now like to share these facts with anyone reading.

  • Approximately 90% of all goods transported in the world are transported by ship.
  • The International Maritime Organization sets standards that keep shipping safe and environmentally friendly.
  • Ocean freight is extremely inexpensive. It can cost as little as a penny to ship a can of soda across the globe by sea.
  • Container ships can cost over $200 million dollars to build.
  • Container ship engines can have over 1,000 times more power than a car’s engine.
  • The average container ship’s engine has 100,000 horsepower.
  • The average container ship travels over 358,000 miles in a single year.
  • The average container ship can hold over 21,000 TEUs.
  • World Maritime Day falls on September 28th every year.

English Words With Nautical Origins

Although many people might not realize it, the English language is filled with words and phrases that come from nautical terms used during the Age of Sail—which covers the years from 1571 to 1862. Below is just a small sampling of the words and phrases we found with nautical origins.

  • Feeling Blue
  • Pipe Down
  • Toe The Line
  • Long Shot
  • Flotsam & Jetsam
  • Taken Aback
  • Aloof
  • Bucko
  • Hunky-Dory
  • Squeegee
  • Spin A Yarn

Observing National Maritime Day

This holiday can be observed by taking a few moments to learn about maritime history, either by reading a book on the subject or by visiting a museum such as the Maritime Museum of San Diego, the Maine Maritime Museum, or the U.S. Navy Museum. A person can also visit one of the commemorative services held at seaports on both coasts. People wanting to spread information about this holiday can do so by using the hashtag #NationalMaritimeDay to let everyone know they are celebrating it.

Where is it celebrated?
United States (Observance)
When is it?
This year (2024)
May 22 Wednesday
Next year (2025)
May 22 Thursday
Last year (2023)
May 22 Monday