Host of U.S. seaports also to observe annual salute to maritime industry, mariners and ports
A little-known annual American commemoration is coming up again on May 22: National Maritime Day, declared by Congress in 1933 to call attention to America’s maritime heritage and to honor the men and women who serve and have served as U.S. merchant mariners.
It’s also a day to recognize and reflect on the rewards that America’s ports bring the country in terms of jobs, economic development, goods movement and international competitiveness.
For the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA)—the unified and recognized voice of seaports in the Americas—National Maritime Day offers the nation’s ports a great opportunity to showcase the value of their facilities, operations and personnel to their respective communities.
AAPA President and CEO Kurt Nagle will participate in the federal government’s commemorative program on Monday, May 23, when he joins U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administrator Paul “Chip” Jaenichen at USDOT’s Washington, D.C., headquarters for the National Maritime Day and Wreath Laying Ceremony.
“Collectively,” said Nagle, “America’s seaports support 23.1 million jobs, annually generate more than $321 billion in federal, state and local taxes, account for over a quarter of the U.S. economy, and handle more than 2.2 billion metric tons of international and domestic cargo.”
“On top of that,” he continued, “our nation’s seaports and their private-sector partners are planning nearly $155 billion in port-related infrastructure investments over the next five years, which will further bolster the economy and help ensure the goods we export and import are moved efficiently, thereby improving America’s competitiveness in worldwide markets.”
Below is a sampling of what U.S. ports are doing to observe 2016’s National Maritime Day:
Port of Baltimore will host its National Maritime Day Port Expo from 1o a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, May 22, at Canton Pier 13, located at 4601 Newgate Avenue in Baltimore. The free event will feature visiting ships, tours of marine terminals and a display of Lego model vessels.
Canaveral Port Authority, in conjunction with the Propeller Club of Port Canaveral, Cape Canaveral Council of the U.S. Navy League, the Retired M.S.C. Group, the Space Coast Chapter of the USMMA Alumni and the Canaveral Pilot’s Association, is sponsoring the 15th Annual Port Canaveral Maritime Day Commemoration on Saturday, May 21, to honor U.S. Merchant Marine veterans, mariners lost at sea, and to recognize the U.S. maritime industry. Space Coast River Tours’ “Blue Dolphin” will depart from Rusty’s Seafood and Oyster Bar (28 Glen Cheek Dr., Cape Canaveral) at 10:30 am for a wreath laying and taps at sea, preceded by a brief ceremony at Rusty's and lunch after the wreath laying.
Port of Duluth-Superior, in conjunction with the Propeller Club of Duluth-Superior, will honor National Maritime Day at a luncheon in the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center on Friday, May 20. In addition to a seafarers memorial service, the event will feature keynote speaker Mike Piskur, program manager for the Conference of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers’ work on maritime transportation, aquatic invasive species and water use data. Piskur is helping to spearhead development and implementation of the first-ever regional maritime transportation system strategy.
Port Everglades, in Broward County, Fla., is hosting its 6th Annual “Keep Port Everglades Shipshape” painting party on Saturday, May 21. The event gives community volunteers the opportunity to test their creativity by painting recycled petroleum drums for use as decorative trash and recycling bins throughout the port. During the awards portion of the event, participants will learn about the positive economic impact Port Everglades has in the community and the important contributions that mariners make in international trade and cruise travel.
Port of San Diego is hosting a celebration throughout May titled “Maritime Month,” with events that include free public bus and boat tours, each featuring detailed narratives on San Diego’s working waterfront, including cargo operations, cruise facilities, shipyards and associated vessels calling on the port. Port tenant Pacific Tugboat Service is also sponsoring a “Name that Tug” contest on Friday, May 20, in which four vessels in its fleet will be renamed after heroes from the San Diego area’s local military.
Port Tampa Bay officials on Tuesday, May 17, participated in a commemorative National Maritime Day dinner and water tour, organized and hosted by the Port of Tampa Propeller Club. The event was held aboard the Yacht Starship, a dinner/cruise vessel moored at one of the port’s berths downtown. James “Hondo” Geurts, Acquisition Executive, Special Operations Research, Development Acquisition Center with United States Special Operations Command at MacDill AFB, Fla., was the featured speaker.
The Port of Virginia’s CEO and executive director, John F. Reinhart, will participate in a commemorative wreath-laying ceremony and brief reception afterward on Thursday, May 19, sponsored by the Propeller Club of Norfolk at the Elizabeth River Pavilion & Deck, located behind Nauticus and the Half Moone Cruise and Celebration Center.