Honoring the maritime industry for their dedication.
The American steamship Savannah set sail from Georgia to England in 1819 to make the first transoceanic voyage and accomplished the feat with steam power, beginning a new age of transportation via ship. In 1933, the United States Congress declared May 22nd would be recognized as National Maritime Day.
The holiday recognizes and pays tribute to American merchant marines that have been defending United States freedom since 1775, as well as the maritime industry for its benefits of transportation, jobs, goods, and recreational opportunities available. Their dedication to promoting commerce and protecting our freedoms has helped keep our nation safe and prosperous for several years.
When a national flag is flown at sea, it is called an ensign. The United States maritime ensign – the 50-star flag – is the preferred flag to fly on all boats, yachts, and ships. However, the ensign on a vessel should be the flag of its registry, not the flag of the owner (if the two are different). The ensign flag flies at the stern of the vessel and should be displayed from 0800 until sunset. However, licensed U.S. yachts are allowed to fly the yacht ensign, which looks similar to the U.S. flag, however, the blue canton in the top corner displays 13 stars encircling a fouled anchor, instead of the 50-stars. The yacht ensign is not allowed to fly in international waters.
Several communities across the country observe National Maritime Day in a variety of ways, some of which include luncheons, seminars, open houses at seaports, and merchant marine memorials.
Source: United States Power Squadrons