This weekend, I will be in Baltimore for the Star-Spangled Sailabration.

Its the national launch of the Bicentennial of the War of 1812 and the writing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Running until Tuesday, the Star-Spangled Sailabration is one of the signature events of the three-year commemoration, called Star-Spangled 200.

This week’s event will feature more than 40 tall ships and naval war ships, concerts and the Star-Spangled Air Show featuring the U.S. Navy Blue Angels. If you are a person interested in our country’s history and naval and maritime operations, this will be a little slice of heaven.

The celebration has me thinking about the federal government’s maritime involvement. And I’m thinking beyond the great works of the U.S. Navy ( and U.S. Coast Guard (

Let’s take a look at some others:

Maritime Administration: An agency under the Department of Transportation, it focuses on waterborne transportation. It works in many areas — from shipbuilding to port operations to national security and the environment.

The agency maintains a fleet of cargo ships in reserve to provide surge sea lift during war and national emergencies, and it is responsible for disposing of ships in that fleet, as well as other obsolete noncombatant government ships. It also provides support for educating future mariners, and programs to educate young people about the maritime industry’s importance. Learn more here:

Then there is the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. The government-run school trains those who will serve as shipboard officers and as leaders in the maritime transportation field. You can learn more here:

On the regulatory and compliance side, there’s the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC). It regulates the U.S. international ocean transportation system. The agency ensures competitive and efficient ocean transportation services for the shipping public and protects the public from financial harm, and it contributes to the integrity and security of the U.S. supply chain and transportation. You can find out more about the FMC here:

NOAA, or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, provides weather forecasts, conducts climate monitoring, manages fisheries and does oversight of coastal restoration projects. More info is here:

On the Homeland Security side beyond the Coast Guard, you have Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Air and Marine. It states on its Web site that the “Office of Air and Marine is the world’s largest aviation and maritime law enforcement organization with more than 1,200 Federal Agents, operating from 80 air and marine locations, with more than 260 aircraft of 26 different types, and 297 marine vessels.” More info is available at:

I could go on and on. Many agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Naval Research, National Park Service and U.S. Geological Survey, all operate vessels.

If you are interested in working in the maritime field, the federal government is full of opportunity.

First, stop by Sailabration, enjoy the festivities, learn some history and pat a sailor on the back.

Derrick T. Dortch, president of the Diversa Group, is a career counselor who specializes in government job searches and military transition.