National Maritime Day ? May 22, 2006

National Maritime Day-- May 22, 2006

A little known American commemorative date is approaching on May 22. Working behind the scenes, a group of Washington, D.C., maritime industry officials hope to make this an event one the whole nation embraces.

In 1933, Congress decreed May 22 as National Maritime Day and each year since then, it has been a day for the United States to observe its proud maritime heritage, honor the men and women who serve and have served as merchant mariners, and recognize the many benefits that result from our American maritime industry. Not coincidentally, National Maritime Day also follows on the heels of National Transportation Week, which the U.S. Department of Transportation has announced will run the week of May 14-20.

This year, as a way to underscore the critical importance of the maritime industry to the national transportation network, the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD), supported by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the American Association of Port Authorities, The Propeller Club of the United States, Waterways Council, Inc., and other maritime groups, will introduce an awareness campaign designed to focus national attention to the maritime industry.

Called, "Maritime Matters," the campaign will help to communicate the value of the maritime industry in relation to the economy, national security, jobs, environmental protection, agriculture, quality of life, recreation and more.

For example, the U.S. marine transportation system in 2004:

? Moved more than 2.5 billion tons of domestic and international freight, valued at more than $2 trillion, of which 627 million tons were transported on America's inland navigation system;
? Transported 686 million tons of imported oil and 364 million tons of domestic oil to meet U.S. energy demands, and;
? Served America's recreational needs by handling more than 220,000 recreational vessels.
? U.S. maritime activities also support nearly 5 million jobs and provide facilities for boarding more than 8 million passengers onto cruise ships and more than 113 million passengers and 32 million vehicles onto ferries annually (2000 data).

Commemorative activities take place across the nation-at seaports and along inland waterways-in combination with National Maritime Day observances in Washington, D.C., on May 22. If your port or city is planning an event, MARAD would like to know about it.

Please visit http://www.marad.dot.gov and click on the "National Maritime Day" toolbar to inform MARAD of your plans. This Web will provide up-to-date information on National Maritime Day commemorative activities across the country, along with a history of why the observance day came into being and how the maritime industry has evolved to touch each and every American life.