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National Maritime Day in the United States

May 22 is National Maritime Day in the United States each year. This day reflects the gratitude that Americans have for the maritime industry and the benefits it brings to the country. It also recognizes ships and seafarers who have held a special place in the nation's history.

Cargo ship heading toward land
National Maritime Day recognizes the benefits of the maritime industry.

What Do People Do?

Many communities and organizations in the United States observe National Maritime Day in a variety of ways. Activities and events include open houses and special celebrations hosted by seaports. Some businesses may host special luncheons while other people attend memorial observances at merchant marine memorials. This day pays special tribute to the benefits that the maritime industry provides for the United States, as well as people who served as merchant mariners in service to their country.

Public Life

National Maritime Day is an observance but it is not a federal public holiday in the United States.


National Maritime Day is observed on May 22, the date that the American steamship Savannah sailed from the United States to England. This event marked the first successful crossing of the Atlantic Ocean using steam propulsion.  On May 20, 1933, Congress declared May 22 as National Maritime Day. During World War II more than 250,000 members of the American Merchant Marine served their country, with more than 6700 giving their lives, hundreds being detained as prisoners of war and more than 800 ships being sunk or damaged.

In 2006 the Maritime Administration joined forces with the American Association of Port Authorities, the US Army Corps of Engineers, Waterways Council Inc, the US Coast Guard, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and other entities involved in the maritime industry to raise the awareness of National Maritime Day and of the maritime industry as a whole.

The President is requested to issue each year a proclamation calling on: people to observe National Maritime Day by displaying the flag of the United States at their homes or other suitable places; and government officials to display the flag on all government buildings on National Maritime Day.


Some symbols that have been used to depict National Maritime Day include: an image or drawing of an anchor, strapped with a rope around the middle, to symbolize the maritime life; and an image or drawing of a steering wheel used on a ship or boat.

National Maritime Day Observances

WeekdayDateYearNameHoliday TypeWhere It is Observed
SatMay 222010National Maritime DayObservance 
SunMay 222011National Maritime DayObservance 
TueMay 222012National Maritime DayObservance 
WedMay 222013National Maritime DayObservance 
ThuMay 222014National Maritime DayObservance 
FriMay 222015National Maritime DayObservance 
SunMay 222016National Maritime DayObservance 
MonMay 222017National Maritime DayObservance 
TueMay 222018National Maritime DayObservance 
WedMay 222019National Maritime DayObservance 
FriMay 222020National Maritime DayObservance 

Quick Facts

National Maritime Day is annually observed in the United States on May 22. It is a time to observe its maritime heritage, to honor those who served as merchant mariners, and to recognize the benefits of the maritime industry.

National Maritime Day 2018

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

National Maritime Day 2019

Wednesday, May 22, 2019


Name in other languages

National Maritime DayEnglish
Día Marítimo NacionalSpanish
הימי הלאומי יוםHebrew
يوم وطني الملاحة البحريةArabic
국립 해양의 날Korean
Najonal maritimdagNorwegian
Nationaler Tag des MeeresGerman

List of dates for other years

Other holidays in May 2019 in the United States

United Nation Holiday on May 22, 2019

Fun Holiday on May 22, 2019

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