On the 13th anniversary of 9/11, America’s tugboat, towboat and barge industry is taking time today to remember the nearly 3,000 Americans who lost their lives, and also to acknowledge the inspiring bravery shown by first responders and citizens on that tragic day. One of the most notable acts was the maritime evacuation of Lower Manhattan. It has been billed as the largest water evacuation in U.S. history when over 500,000 people were transported to safety by hundreds of vessels which answered a call from the U.S. Coast Guard to converge on New York Harbor to aid in the evacuation. This extraordinary rescue was memorialized in the 2011 short documentary film Boatlift, in which narrator Tom Hanks noted that “for the first time in over 100 years, boats were the only way on or off the island of Manhattan.”

“America’s domestic maritime fleet plays a crucial role in transporting the nation’s commerce every day and in ensuring our nation’s resilience during times of emergency,” said Tom Allegretti, president and CEO of the American Waterways Operators. “The Boatlift heroes truly lived up to one of the U.S. Merchant Marine’s oldest mottos, ‘acta non verba,’ or ‘deeds not words.’ Longstanding maritime traditions of selflessness and concern for the welfare of others guided the heroes of the September 11 Boatlift. Often, we take our American maritime industry for granted as it works in quiet anonymity to keep our country and our economy moving. But, for those who are familiar with this proud industry, these acts of heroism came as no surprise.”