Happy National Maritime Day! Today, I ask that each of you take a closer look at those crab legs you’re eating, or that naval ship you see when you are at the beach and really consider how important sailors, the sea, and the maritime industry is to our daily lives. May 22, 1933 marks the date that the American steamship Savannah set sail from Georgia on the first ever transoceanic voyage under steam power. The United States Congress deemed this day National Maritime Day to honor and recognize the maritime industry for all that they do.
Maritime (or Marine or Merchant Marine or Merchant Navy) Day is celebrated because almost 70 percent area of the Planet Earth is covered by oceans and not less than 90 percent of the world trade is through sea routes by ships as a means of transportation. The shipping industry is one of the oldest global industries.
Today, thank a sailor that you know or simply pass on the street. Their sacrifices aren’t recognized as often as they should. Visit your local maritime museum—like the North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort, NC—and take some time to learn about North Carolina’s maritime heritage. (Plus, who doesn’t like taking a quick road trip to a quaint little harbor town!?)
Now, if you are really feeling like dedicating the entire day to remembering and thinking about all that the sea means to society, both past and present, well here are a few books that offer just that–
- Gulf Stream: Tiny Plankton, Giant Bluefin, and the Amazing Story of the Powerful River in the Atlantic By Stan Ulanski
Stan Ulanski explores the fascinating science and history of this sea highway known as the Gulf Stream, one of the last vestiges of wilderness on Earth. Spanning both distance and time, Ulanski’s investigation reveals how the Gulf Stream affects and is affected by every living thing that encounters it–from tiny planktonic organisms to giant bluefin tuna, from ancient mariners to big game anglers. He examines the scientific discovery of ocean circulation, the biological life teeming in the stream, and the role of ocean currents in the settlement of the New World.
- A View From the Masthead: Maritime Imagination and Antebellum American Sea Narratives: Maritime Imagination and Antebellum American Sea Narratives By Hester Blum
With long, solitary periods at sea, far from literary and cultural centers, sailors comprise a remarkable population of readers and writers. Although their contributions have been little recognized in literary history, seamen were important figures in the nineteenth-century American literary sphere. In the first book to explore their unique contribution to literary culture, Hester Blum examines the first-person narratives of working sailors, from little-known sea tales to more famous works by Herman Melville, James Fenimore Cooper, Edgar Allan Poe, and Richard Henry Dana.
- Pirates, Privateers and Rebel Raiders of the Carolina Coast By Lindley S. Butler
North Carolina possesses one of the longest, most treacherous coastlines in the United States, and the waters off its shores have been the scene of some of the most dramatic episodes of piracy and sea warfare in the nation’s history. Now, Lindley Butler brings this fascinating aspect of the state’s maritime heritage vividly to life. He offers engaging biographical portraits of some of the most famous pirates, privateers, and naval raiders to ply the Carolina waters.
- Mariner’s Menu: 30 Years of Fresh Seafood Ideas, by Joyce Taylor
Now if you are looking to celebrate the day by way of your stomach, then you may want to check out this seafood cookbook, which Mariner’s Menu. This seafood cookbook proves to be an excellent resource for handling and preparing seafood, which can prove to be a complicated task at times. It assists in making some pretty delectable meals.
I hope that by the end of the day today, and as you begin your glorious weekend, you have a newfound appreciation for the ocean and all that it allows us to do in our own lives.