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News Release
FOR RELEASE - May 18, 2018
Contact: Aaron Ellis, Public Affairs Director,
(703) 684-5700

American Association of Port Authorities
Phone: (202) 792-4033

AAPA To Join USDOT In Commemorating National Maritime Day

Many U.S. seaports paying tribute to maritime industry, mariners in May

A little-known annual American commemoration is coming up again on Tuesday, May 22 . . . National Maritime Day. It was declared by Congress in 1933 to call attention to America’s proud 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 family-wage 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 May 22 at USDOT’s Washington, D.C., headquarters for the National Maritime Day and Wreath Laying CeremonyAAPA will also join the Propeller Club of Washington DC on May 21 for a National Maritime Day celebration reception on the Capitol View Rooftop at the Hall of States building in Washington, D.C.

“Nationwide,” said Mr. Nagle, “America’s seaports support more than 23 million American 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. From these statistics alone, it’s clear that ports play a vital role in supporting our national economy, jobs, tax resources and their communities.

“On top of that,” he continued, “America’s seaports and their private-sector partners are planning nearly $155 billion in port-related infrastructure investments through 2020, 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 2018’s National Maritime Day:

Port of Baltimore will host its National Maritime Day Port Expo from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. EDT on Sunday, May 20, at Canton Pier 13, located at 4601 Newgate Avenue in Baltimore. The free event will be held pier side and onboard the NS Savannah, and feature local working ships, tugs, Coast Guard vessels and fireboats; exhibits from local maritime companies; a display of Lego model vessels; and food and beverages for purchase.

Canaveral Port Authority, in conjunction with its local Propeller Club chapter, will host its 17th Annual Port Canaveral Maritime Day Celebration on Saturday, May 26 at 10:00 a.m. EDT.  There will be a ceremony in conjunction with the Cape Canaveral Council Navy League of the United States, the Space Coast Military Sealift Command Retirees, and the Space Coast Chapter, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy Alumni Association.  The event begins with a memorial ceremony, followed by a harbor tour and wreath laying ceremony on the waters of the harbor aboard Space Coast River Tour’s Blue Dolphin. Following the ceremony, there will be a luncheon at Rusty’s Seafood and Oyster Bar at Port Canaveral.  Proceeds from the luncheon will go to the U.S. Naval Sea Cadets Courageous Division.

Port Corpus Christi on May 22 will celebrate the men and women who serve the U.S. Merchant Marine industry and the vital contributions they make in facilitating global trade. At various events throughout the day, each of the port’s facilities will host a small celebration for its employees. Later that evening, port staff will present 20 gift bags to Merchant Marines at the Corpus Christi International Seaman’s Center. A wreath honoring the Merchant Marines will be also be presented to the Seaman’s Center. The port is also placing ads commemorating National Maritime Day in local newspapers.

The Propeller Club of the Port of Duluth-Superior is hosting its Maritime Day celebration this year at the University of Minnesota Duluth’s Kirby Ballroom on Tuesday, May 22 at noon CDT. The event honors all Merchant Mariners, Merchant Marine veterans and other Propeller Club members who’ve served in the U.S. Armed Forces, and also recognizes the contributions of all maritime stakeholders. It begins with a luncheon, followed by a remembrance service hosted by the Twin Ports Ministry to Seafarers. The keynote speaker for this year’s event is William P. Doyle, CEO and executive director of the Dredging Contractors of America.  Mr. Doyle is a graduate of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy and served for more than a decade as an officer in the U.S. Merchant Marine. Most recently a member of the Federal Maritime Commission, Mr. Doyle was unanimously confirmed twice by the U.S. Senate as a presidential appointee. For additional details, contact the Duluth Seaway Port Authority

Port Everglades, in Broward County, Fla., is hosting its free National Maritime Day event, the 8th Annual Keep Port Everglades Shipshape Paint Party! on Saturday, May 19, from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. EDT. Each year, Port Everglades invites volunteers of all ages and talents to participate in a community service project to transform recycled petroleum drums into decorative trash and recycling bins that will be used 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. This year, since the port is celebrating a milestone anniversary, it is presenting an extra award in the art competition for the best Port Everglades 90th Anniversary theme as a new category. To participate, click here to register.

Port of Galveston, in partnership with Texas A&M University, on May 22 will co-host its annual National Maritime Day event. In addition to recognizing the contribution of the maritime industry to America’s heritage and economic vitality, the day will include an “All Things Maritime” event, enabling Galveston Independent School District students to learn more about the positive economic impact the maritime industry and mariners have in the Galveston community. The event will take place at Pier 21 from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. CDT.  Activities include tours of the Texas Seaport Museum, Tall Ship Elissa, the Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig Museum, and Sea Star Base Galveston’s Bay Smart Express, a Search and Rescue demonstration by the U.S. Coast Guard, and exhibits by Texas A&M University at Galveston, Texas Parks and Wildlife, and the USCG. Following the expo, the port will host its annual National Maritime Day Commemoration ceremony at Pier 21 from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. CDT. The USCG will post colors at the ceremony and will feature the Odyssey Academy choir, Singing Stars (grades 2-5). Rear Admiral Paul F. Thomas, Commander, Eighth Coast Guard District, will serve as the keynote speaker, and Brian P. Hill, MARAD’s Western Gulf Gateway Director, will read the Presidential proclamation. The heart of the formal military ceremony will be a commemorative wreath presentation in solemn remembrance of mariners who died in service to the nation. Immediately following, there will be an invitation-only Maritime Mixer, cosponsored by the Port of Galveston and the Galveston Regional Chamber of Commerce at Pier 21, from 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. CDT.

PortMiami continues to honor America’s maritime heritage by supporting events, organizations and the nation’s proud maritime history. In recognition of Florida Trade Month and Miami Trade Week, PortMiami is collaborating with partners US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Miami World Trade Center to host International Trade Day.  This day-long workshop will feature a unique in-depth industry review and insights from CBP officials. Additionally, PortMiami and the Miami Propeller Club will host its traditional year-round Biscayne Bay Pilots’ night celebration. The PortMiami Propeller Club will also host college nights featuring the University of Miami and Miami-Dade College. The Club supports these two local institutions by fostering collaboration with the community to provide opportunities for young scholars majoring in marine ecosystems and supply chain management. “National Maritime Day is a time to reflect and recognize the great work and contributions of the United States merchant mariners to the maritime industry,” said PortMiami Director Juan M. Kuryla.  “The PortMiami team is looking forward to celebrating this tradition along with its partners.”

Port of New Orleans (aka Port NOLA) seized the opportunity to extend National Maritime Day messages throughout the month of May to raise public awareness about the value of the port and its importance to the community through a variety of events, partnerships, promotions, website and social media channels. The goal is to pay tribute to the region’s rich maritime history and to recognize the hardworking men and women who serve in the industry. The port’s theme is “Your Working River 300” to honor the city of New Orleans’ Tricentennial year, and includes numerous activities to demonstrate the industry’s vital role in job creation and its connection to the community. The month-long celebration kicked into high gear on May 3 with the New Orleans City Council presenting a proclamation to Port NOLA President and CEO Brandy D. Christian, recognizing both Maritime Month and Maritime Day. Port NOLA also hosted students from New Orleans Charter Science and Mathematics High School who participated in the second annual Maritime Month Career Exploration Day, an event that allows high school students to learn about the diverse career paths available in the maritime industry. Port NOLA has also partnered with WWL-TV to broadcast 15- and 30-second promotional ads throughout the month touting the benefits of “Your Working River 300” which began airing May 1. On National Maritime Day (May 22), Port NOLA will host WWL-TV’s Morning Show for a live broadcast from the port’s Gen. Roy S. Kelley fireboat from 7:00 a.m. until 9:00 a.m. CDT.

Texas’ Port of Port Arthur on May 20 kicks off a week-long recognition of the global impact of the local maritime industry. Activities begin with port staff and volunteers traveling to Travis Elementary’s 5th grade class to discuss the port, maritime careers and maritime history. On National Maritime Day, the port and Port Arthur International Seafarers Center will co-sponsor its community’s 32nd annual National Maritime Day Observance and Memorial Service. This event recognizes the 76th Anniversary of the U-boat attacks against U.S. shipping in 1942, when 33 ships were sunk or damaged while en route to or from the Port Arthur area. Six ships were lost in action during May 1942, the Munger T. Ball, Aurora, Gulfpenn, Gulfprince, Gulfoil, and Mercury Sun, and 64 U.S. merchant mariners and four armed guards were killed. Following the observance at the Seamen's Memorial Sundial, there will be a wreath laying in the channel by a pilot boat, with tug escorts and a water curtain. Following that will be a port-sponsored lunch in which the public is welcome to attend. As presenting sponsor, the Port of Port Arthur on May 24 will also participate in the Inaugural Texas Maritime Celebration Dinner, benefitting the port’s youth outreach program, Camp SeaPort, and the Port Arthur International Seafarer’s Center. Sponsorships are available. For more information and tickets, click here.

Port of San Diego designates the entire month of May as “Maritime Month” to celebrate the hardworking men and women who make San Diego’s maritime industries successful, and to ensure their efforts are recognized as having a major impact on the San Diego, Calif. region. With the theme “At the Heart of it All is Maritime,” the port has launched this year’s public education campaign by inviting the public to participate in tours and co-hosting a special luncheon with the Propeller Club of San Diego. The tours provide an upfront and personal opportunity to experience the working waterfront; free public bus and boat tours feature detailed narrative on the working waterfront including cargo operations, cruise facilities, shipyards, and associated vessels calling on the port. The series of events recognizes the industry’s role in job creation and economic prosperity and its commitment to education, training and environmental stewardship. In addition, the port engaged its employees with a special maritime-themed event, and the Board of Port Commissioners issued a proclamation honoring the local Harbor Safety Committee. The campaign also includes daily social media posts, an inspiring video, a dedicated web page, emails to stakeholders, and ads in print and broadcast media.  

Port of Seattle is celebrating National Maritime Day and Maritime Month from May 5 through May 27. Maritime events began May 5 with the opening day of Boating Season on Lake Union, Lake Washington, and the Lake Washington Ship Canal. May 10 featured stories of the sea, maritime poetry and Song Slam, sponsored by the Seattle Propeller Club. May 11 and 12 featured the Northwest Paddling Festival at Lake Sammamish State Park in Issaquah, Wash., sponsored by Northwest Marine Trade Association. Also on May 12, Harley Marine Services Seattle Maritime Festival Family Fun Day as held at the Seattle Maritime Academy, and was sponsored by Harley Marine Services, the Seattle Propeller Club and the Port of Seattle. The event included many popular hands-on displays and activities to familiarize participants with maritime industry careers. On May 18, the Seattle Propeller Club sponsored the Seattle Maritime Festival Breakfast, where more than 200 employees, executives and owners of maritime businesses, as well as elected officials and their staff, attended at the Seattle Waterfront Marriott. Also on May 18, the Tacoma Propeller Club hosted its annual Chowdown, which is a giant seafood festival. Finally, on May 26 and 27, the Northwest Seaport Maritime Heritage Center Classic Workboat Show will be held at South Lake Union Park, featuring dozens of tug boats, barges, fishing boats and more, and will include live performances of sea chanteys, tours of classic workboats and more.

About AAPA
Founded in 1912 and recognized as the unified voice of seaports in the Americas, AAPA today represents 140 of the leading seaport authorities in the United States, Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean and more than 250 sustaining and associate members, firms and individuals with an interest in seaports. According to IHS Markit’s World Trade Service, combined international sea trade moving through Western Hemisphere ports in 2016 totaled 3.49 billion metric tons in volume and US$3.01 trillion in value. Of that total, ports in Central and South America handled 1.71 billion metric tons of cargo valued at US$941 billion, while North American ports handled 1.79 billion metric tons of goods, valued at US$2.07 trillion. To meet the growing demand for trade, the AAPA and its members are committed to keeping seaports navigable, secure and sustainable.  For more information, visit On Twitter:

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