Get ready to set sail, because June 25 is the Day of the Seafarer. This is day for seafarers of all stripes, from Coast Guards, to Navies, to every fisherman and marine biologist and cruise ship captain. If your job involves a large quantity of salt water, then this day is dedicated to you. The first documented sea voyage was made around 3200 BCE, and was bankrolled by the Egyptian Pharaoh Snefru (he also built at least three pyramids during his reign). Today, over 90% of global trade is done by sea, since it is still the most cost-effective way to transport goods. Marine biologists and oceanographers from every country have dedicated their lives to learning more about the ocean depths, and humans from every walk of life keep going to the sea to explore the planet.
Why We Love International Day of the Seafarer
A. Trade by sea is vital to the economy
As we mentioned before, the vast majority of international trade is done by sea, due to relatively low costs and greater economy of space. If trade by sea were limited in some way, or stopped altogether, there is no way that the global economy would be able to function. In other words, we owe our current ways of life to those who travel the seas.
B. Scientific research is vital to human life
Not only does trade by sea make up most of the global economy, but also the oceans themselves take up about 70% of the planet itself. Over 1 million species of plants and animals live in the ocean, and scientists estimate that there may be up to 9 million species in there that haven’t been discovered yet. Everything we know about the ocean today, we know thanks to the tireless work of thousands of oceanographers and marine biologists who dedicate their lives to the study of those watery depths.
C. Seafarers keep us safe
When it comes to saving people’s lives at sea, we have two lines of defense. We have Navies keeping us safe in times of war, and we have Coast Guards to keep us safe from natural disasters, criminal activity, and environmental deterioration. The ocean, as important as it is, poses a significant threat to American life, and without those organizations, humans might be in even more danger.
How to Celebrate International Day of the Seafarer
1. Visit your local Coast Guard outpost
If you live near a Coast Guard outpost, you might consider dropping in. This is a great opportunity not only to learn more about what the Coast Guard does, but also to thank them for doing their jobs so well. (Baked goods rarely go amiss in that situation.) If you don’t live near a Coast Guard outpost, you can always make a monetary donation online.
2. Read a book or watch a movie about life at sea
While Titanic is a classic, it may be time to branch out into lesser-known stories. From high-stakes adventures like The Finest Hours or Treasure Island, to heart-rending disaster stories like The Perfect Storm or The Poseidon Adventure, maritime stories are always rife with drama. And okay, isn’t it about time you watched Jaws again?
3. Donate to a maritime charity
The Coast Guard isn’t the only organization that accepts donations. Oceana is an international group dedicated to protecting and restoring the world’s oceans and the species that live there, while the Family Support Project provides emotional and practical support for the families of seafarers. There are dozens of other causes as well—which would you like to support?