National Harbormaster Appreciation Day is observed annually on October 8, and its an opportunity for all of us to say thank you, and appreciate the time and dedication that a relatively unknown player in our economy, the harbormaster, puts into making sure that our harbors are run efficiently, safely, and ethically. Harbor managers manage the day-to-day running of the harbor. They work tirelessly to ensure that our harbors are productive, and benefit our social and economic interests. So, let’s take time today, to appreciate the hardworking men and women who serve our communities so passionately, and to a large extent receive very little acknowledgment for all that they do.
History of National Harbormaster Appreciation Day
The oldest artificial port or harbor on earth currently lies on the coast of the Red Sea and was built 4,500 years ago in Ancient Egypt. This port in Wadi al-Jarf tells us that human beings have been engaged in sea trade, and other marine activities for thousands of years, even before the creation of the artificial port in Wadi al-Jarf, and so we know that the role of the harbormaster has been a vocation and profession for just as long.
Historically speaking harbors and ports have played an instrumental role in nation-building, and destroying over millennia. While much of history focuses on the events around harbors and the contribution that they have made to a nation’s ability to prosper or fail, it is essential to understand the role of the harbormaster through that space and time too.
Traditionally, the harbormaster was not a civilian role, as class and military structures in society, historically, excluded civilians from reaching such a high point of authority. Typically, a harbormaster was a ranking naval officer with a deep understanding of the ocean and traveling across it, or a person of high status with familial connections.
Today, however, harbormasters still hold power in respect of the law and can execute several orders to arrest or detain a person or persons who commit wrongful acts within the harbormaster’s jurisdiction. Traffic in our harbors, goods coming and going out, and screening of individuals from foreign nations is why harbormasters are such an important part of our society, they keep us safe, and protected from any harmful elements that may try and enter our countries through ports, and it is for their tireless efforts to keep us safe, that we appreciate them so much.
National Harbormaster Appreciation Day timeline
The Massachusetts Bay Colony is founded and the Boston Harbour quickly becomes a central trade hub internationally.
The first steam-powered ship crossed the Atlantic Ocean, and with this voyage, the beginning of modern sea trade, and travel, begins.
The Russian Vandal officially launches with the first diesel-electric transmission.
The first container ship is complete and launches the Autocarrier, owned by Southern Railway U.K.
National Harbormaster Appreciation Day FAQs
How can I become a harbormaster?
It will depend on where you live, and the local requirements, but you can expect to study for a minimum of 12 months, and will also have to be an experienced seafarer.
Is it a difficult job?
Yes, the difficulty and complexity will vary, depending on the size and traffic of the harbor but it is a difficult profession, with a lot of responsibility.
Who does the harbormaster report to?
Generally, the harbormaster will report to local authorities, either in trade or transport.
How to Observe National Harbormaster Appreciation Day
Get to know your local ports and harbors
If you live in a city or town that has a port or harbor, visit it. You’ll have an opportunity to see and learn what comes in and out of your town.
Go on a voyage
If you want to get a feel for what goes on in your local port or harbor book a sea voyage, you can even make a day of it and take your friends with you too. It's a great opportunity to see exactly how your harbor is managed.
Have a nautical-themed party
If you find yourself landlocked, and unable to enjoy your local port or harbor, pretend. Throw a nautical-themed party, dress up, and feel your inner sailor come to life.
5 Facts About Harbors Around The World
Harbors aren't always sovereign
China, at the time of writing this article, 2022, owns five ports in the U.S.A.
Busiest seaport in the world
The Port of Shanghai is the busiest seaport, and in 2016, it managed to break the world record and handle 37 million T.E.Us.
Smallest harbor in the world
Depoe Bay, Oregon, covers a small six acres and is the world's smallest, active harbor.
The most dangerous harbor in the world
From Fort Stevens State Park you can watch ships attempt to navigate the Columbia River Bar, the most dangerous entry point for shipping, in the world.
Where billionaires park their yachts
The Marina Grande, in Capri, is arguably the most expensive marina to dock at in the world, with prices starting at 2750 Euro a day.
Why National Harbormaster Appreciation Day is Important
It's about appreciation
Harbormasters do a lot for our local and national economies, not to mention our national security. Today is a great way to acknowledge their hard work and show our appreciation.
It sheds light on an important civic role and responsibility
Not many people know that much about their local ports and harbors. Having a day to celebrate the role of harbormasters is a great way to learn about your local economy.
We love anything that involves harbors
Something is mystifying about the ocean and the sense of adventure that comes from crossing those mirky waters. There’s a strong connection between us and the ocean and we love that we get to celebrate all the work that goes into making sea travel and trade a possibility.
National Harbormaster Appreciation Day dates