In 1933, the US Congress declared 22 May to be “National Maritime Day” in honour of the 22 May 1819 departure of the paddlewheel steamship Savannah from Savannah, Georgia, USA for Liverpool on what was hailed as the first successful transoceanic voyage under steam propulsion.
Eventually National Maritime Day became the Merchant Marine Memorial Day when in 1970 the US Maritime Administration sponsored an observance of Maritime Day honouring veterans of the Merchant Marine. In 2005, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops made National Maritime Day a Day of Prayer and Remembrance for Seafarers and People of the Sea.
On Maritime Day, various US ports have open houses. Propeller Clubs celebrate with special luncheons, memorial services are held at Merchant Marine Memorials in New York City and San Pedro, California. National Maritime Day is a day to pay special tribute to the merchant marine and to the benefi ts that the maritime industry provides this country and to all who live here.