From the US Maritime Administration website:
On May 22, 1819, the S.S. Savannah left its home port of Savannah, Georgia, on its way to Liverpool, England. The ship “put to sea with steam and sails” and reached Liverpool, England, in 29 days and four hours, becoming the first steamship to cross the Atlantic. While the steam engine performed faultlessly, it was not the only means of propulsion; historians have estimated that the Savannah was under sail 80% of the time. Nonetheless, it was an impressive achievement, one that signaled the beginning of the era of steam, and American technological leadership.
By a Joint Resolution passed on May 20, 1933, Congress declared May 22nd to be National Maritime Day. This is the text of the resolution.
Whereas on May 22, 1819, the steamship The Savannah set sail from Savannah, Georgia, on the first successful transoceanic voyage under steam propulsion, thus making a material contribution to the advancement of ocean transportation:
Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
That May 22 of each year shall hereafter be designated and known as National Maritime Day, and the President is authorized and requested annually to issue a proclamation calling upon the people of the United States to observe such National Maritime Day by displaying the flag at their homes or other suitable places and Government officials to display the flag on all Government buildings on May 22 of each year. (link)
If you listen to Episode 24 of Messing About In Ships you’ll learn how Captain John Konrad of gcaptain.com celebrates the maritimest day of the year.
I’m celebrating it in Bermuda!
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