May 22 2019 0

National Maritime Day 2019: “Empowering Women in the Maritime Community”

The Dredging Contractors of America is pleased to support National Maritime Day 2019.  The President issued a proclamation on May 20, 2019 designating May 22nd as National Maritime Day.

Featured image above:  Catherine (Kay) Morrison receiving the ‘Rosie the Riveter’ award from Newport News Shipbuilding President Jennifer Boykin and The Honorable Mark Buzby, USN (Ret), U.S. Maritime Administrator (standing next to Ms. Boykin is GEN Stephen Lyons, USA, Commander, U.S. Transportation Command). 

Weeks Marine’s Cutter Suction Dredge (CSD) J.S. Chatry constructed by C&C Marine & Repair Shipyard in Belle Chasse, Louisiana.  Workers during Safety Week readying CSD J.S. Chatry for expected service in August 2019 in Weeks’ maintenance and repair yard in Houma, Louisiana.

U.S. dredging companies will be placing into service two new state of the art cutterhead suction dredges this year built by C&C Marine & Repair Shipyard — Weeks Marine’s CSD J.S. Chatry and Callan Marine’s General MacArthur.

The U.S. Congress, by a joint resolution approved May 20, 1933, has designated May 22nd of each year as “National Maritime Day” to commemorate the first transoceanic voyage by a steamship in 1819 by the S.S. Savannah.  By that resolution, Congress authorized and requested that the President issue annually a proclamation calling for its appropriate observance of National Maritime Day.

President Trump’s proclamation for 2019 states in part:

On National Maritime Day, we honor the men and women who, throughout our history, have served with professionalism, dedication, and patriotism in the United States Merchant Marine.  We recognize these seafaring merchant mariners for helping to fuel our economy, maintain our sea power, and support our national security.

Merchant mariners extend goodwill into all parts of the world, serving as a peaceful United States presence on international waterways.  Today, American mariners facilitate the import and export of billions of dollars of goods, including fuel, agricultural products, and raw materials through the Marine Transportation System.  They are also among the first to respond to help their fellow citizens in the wake of national disasters.

During times of war, merchant mariners courageously sail into combat zones to provide sealift for the Department of Defense, carrying weapons and supplies to America’s fighting forces.  In every conflict, United States citizen mariners have answered the call to duty and risked their lives. Some have sadly made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

Because the United States Merchant Marine plays a central role in bringing American goods to market and in bolstering our military readiness abroad, we must encourage more people to pursue career opportunities on America’s waterways and the oceans of the world.  For this reason, I recently signed an Executive Order to help veterans of the Armed Forces transition seamlessly into civilian careers in the United States Merchant Marine by allowing them to apply relevant military training and experience toward becoming credentialed merchant mariners.  This will help support a robust, well-equipped, and safe merchant fleet crewed by well-trained mariners.

The theme for this year’s National Maritime Day is Empowering Women in the Maritime Community and featured an impressive group speakers at U.S. Department of Transportation Headquarters in Washington, DC.

Jennifer Boykin, first female president of Newport News Shipbuilding, speaking on National Maritime Day, USDOT, May 22, 2019.

Jennifer Boykin, President of Newport News Shipbuilding.  Ms. Boykin is a 1986 graduate of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and she is the first female president of the New Port News Shipbuilding since it opened its doors in 1886. She has responsibility for more than 23,000 shipbuilders who design, build and maintain the world’s most complex ships: nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and nuclear-powered submarines. This includes teams that perform aircraft carrier and submarine maintenance across the United States and globally.  Jennifer is a mentor through the women in engineering program at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va., and she also works closely with Virginia Commonwealth University’s engineering program. She is a founder of GEMS – Girls With Engineering Minds in Shipbuilding – an after-school program in Newport News. The GEMS program is held twice a month. Ms. Boykin said female shipyard employees in STEM fields teach and mentor the middle school girls. The students keep journals and they are required to write themselves a letter at the beginning of the year on what they expect to gain the learn from the program.  They make journal journal entries after each experiment. Then, at the end of the year the students attend a graduation ceremony from GEMS.


Honorable Jennifer Gonzalez Colon, Commissioner, Puerto Rico, speaking on National Maritime Day, USDOT, May 22, 2019.

Catherine (Kay) Morrison received the “Rosie the Riveter” award.  At nearly 96 years of age, Kay flew to Washington, DC to receive the award.  Ms. Morrison served as a welder during World War II at Kaiser Shipyard #2 in Richmond, California.  The four Kaiser shipyards in Richmond built more ships than any other shipyard, turning out as many as three ships in a single day during the war effort.


The Honorable Jennifer Gozalez Colon, Commissioner, Puerto Rico.  Ms. Gonzalez Colon thanked the U.S. Merchant Marine, companies and mariners for their service in the Sector.  She gave thanks to the Jones Act for providing ‘reliable’ and dedicated waterborne service from mainland U.S. to the island of Puerto Rico.  Commissioner Gonzalez Colon sits on the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure.


William Doyle and Catherine ‘Rosie the Riveter’ Kay Morrison, National Maritime Day 2019, Washington, DC (USDOT HQ).

Reflecting on the day, Dredging Contractors of America CEO & Executive Director, William P. Doyle said:  “Everything about today’s National Maritime day was great.  The theme, the people, the energy and the camaraderie.  I love ‘Rosie the Riveter’ Kay Morrison.  It was very special to have had a chance to speak with her.  I told her that my mother worked as a clerk in the Beth-Steel Shipyard in Quincy, MA in the 1960’s.  Kay responded as sharp as a tack saying, ‘well, then your mother is a rose-bud!”


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