Sailing in the United States of America
Britain's American colonies broke with the mother country in 1776 and were recognized as the new nation of the United States of America following the Treaty of Paris in 1783. During the 19th and 20th centuries, 37 new states were added to the original 13 as the nation expanded across the North American continent and acquired a number of overseas possessions. The two most traumatic experiences in the nation's history were the Civil War (1861-65) and the Great Depression of the 1930s. Buoyed by victories in World Wars I and II and the end of the Cold War in 1991, the US remains the world's most powerful nation state. The economy is marked by steady growth, low unemployment and inflation, and rapid advances in technology.
Location: North America, bordering both the North Atlantic Ocean and
the North Pacific Ocean, between Canada and Mexico
territorial sea: 12 nm
Mostly temperate, but tropical in Hawaii and Florida, arctic in Alaska, semiarid in the great plains west of the Mississippi River, and arid in the Great Basin of the southwest; low winter temperatures in the northwest are ameliorated occasionally in January and February by warm chinook winds from the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains
Vast central plain, mountains in west, hills and low mountains in east;
rugged mountains and broad river valleys in Alaska; rugged, volcanic topography
Air pollution resulting in acid rain in both the US and Canada; the US is the largest single emitter of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels; water pollution from runoff of pesticides and fertilizers; limited natural fresh water resources in much of the western part of the country require careful management; desertification
Dependent areas, Islands and Territories overseas
American Samoa, Baker Island, Guam, Howland Island, Jarvis Island, Johnston
Atoll, Kingman Reef, Midway Islands, Navassa Island, Northern Mariana Islands,
Palmyra Atoll, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Wake Island
The US has the largest and most technologically powerful economy in the world, with a per capita GDP of $42,000. In this market-oriented economy, private individuals and business firms make most of the decisions, and the federal and state governments buy needed goods and services predominantly in the private marketplace. US business firms enjoy greater flexibility than their counterparts in Western Europe and Japan in decisions to expand capital plant, to lay off surplus workers, and to develop new products. At the same time, they face higher barriers to enter their rivals' home markets than foreign firms face entering US markets. US firms are at or near the forefront in technological advances, especially in computers and in medical, aerospace, and military equipment; their advantage has narrowed since the end of World War II.
The onrush of technology largely explains the gradual development of a "two-tier labor market" in which those at the bottom lack the education and the professional/technical skills of those at the top and, more and more, fail to get comparable pay raises, health insurance coverage, and other benefits. Since 1975, practically all the gains in household income have gone to the top 20% of households. The response to the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 showed the remarkable resilience of the economy. The war in March-April 2003 between a US-led coalition and Iraq, and the subsequent occupation of Iraq, required major shifts in national resources to the military. The rise in GDP in 2004 and 2005 was undergirded by substantial gains in labor productivity.
The economy suffered from a sharp increase in energy prices in mid-2005, but by late in the year those prices dropped back to earlier levels. Hurricane Katrina caused extensive damage in the Gulf Coast region in August 2005, but had a small impact on overall GDP growth for the year. Long-term problems include inadequate investment in economic infrastructure, rapidly rising medical and pension costs of an aging population, sizable trade and budget deficits, and stagnation of family income in the lower economic groups.
41,009 km (19,312 km used for commerce). Saint Lawrence Seaway of 3,769 km, including the Saint Lawrence River of 3,058 km, shared with Canada (2004)
Merchant marine: total: 470 ships (1000 GRT or over) 10,698,467 GRT/13,466,359
Sailing Specifics: Ports and terminals
Corpus Christi, Duluth, Hampton Roads, Houston, Long Beach, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, Tampa, Texas City - 13 ports north of New Orleans (South Louisiana Ports) on the Mississippi River handle 290,000,000 tons of cargo annually
Prolonged drought, population growth, and outmoded practices and infrastructure in the border region strains water-sharing arrangements with Mexico; the US has stepped up efforts to stem nationals from Mexico, Central America, and other parts of the world from crossing illegally into the US from Mexico; illegal immigrants from the Caribbean, notably Haiti and the Dominican Republic, attempt to enter the US through Florida by sea; 1990 Maritime Boundary Agreement in the Bering Sea still awaits Russian Duma ratification; managed maritime boundary disputes with Canada at Dixon Entrance, Beaufort Sea, Strait of Juan de Fuca, and around the disputed Machias Seal Island and North Rock.
US and Canada seek greater cooperation in monitoring people and commodities crossing the border; The Bahamas and US have not been able to agree on a maritime boundary; US Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay is leased from Cuba and only mutual agreement or US abandonment of the area can terminate the lease; Haiti claims US-administered Navassa Island; US has made no territorial claim in Antarctica (but has reserved the right to do so) and does not recognize the claims of any other state; Marshall Islands claims Wake Island
Other Sailing Destinations in the Region