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Blessing of the Fleet Ceremonies & Events

Post by Becky at Dockwa - Published on 5/23/18 10:34 AM

The high season is fast approaching the cooler climates, which means marinas and harbors across the country are in prime time to host their annual Blessing of the Fleet ceremonies for fishermen, servicemen and women, boaters, and sailors. 

Jump to Northeast | Chesapeake Bay | ICW | Florida | Inland Waterways |Great LakesPacific Northwest | California 

Know of a ceremony near you? Email becky@dockwa.com and we'll have your event listed in a jiffy. 

Blessing of the Fleet at Bayou la Batre 1968

Blessing of the Fleet History

The custom of the Blessing of the Fleet is a tradition observed by fishing and boating communities, in which they pray for a bountiful harvest and for the safety of the men at sea.The practice can be traced back to Old World Mediterranean fishing communities, and while the practice originated from Catholicism and brought to the United States by immigrants who held strongly to their Christian beliefs, it has since evolved to embrace more religions and cultures as it spread. Each harbor makes its annual Blessing of the Fleet its own, incorporating boat parades, church services, contests, potlucks, and music, some even expanding the event to a multi-day festival.

provincetown blessing of the fleet


  • Narragansett, RI: The Narragansett Lions Club's Blessing of the Fleet takes place Saturday, July 28, 2018, preceded by their annual Seafood Festival (Thursday - Saturday) and 10-Mile Road Race (Friday).

  • Provincetown, MA: This Blessing of the Fleet is part of the Portuguese Festival Weekend on June 24, 2018. (link)

  • Onset Harbor: Hosted by the Wareham Harbor Master on July 7 2018, this event includes a parade, blessing ceremony, dance party, and 4th of July fireworks display! The fun begins at 10:30AM - visit the Facebook event for updates. 

Chesapeake Bay 

  • Cape Charles, VA: The town marina will hold the Blessing of the Fleet on April 27, 2018 5:30PM to 10:30PM. 


Washington DC Blessing of the Fleet


  • Washington, D.C.: Navy Memorial Blessing of the Fleet on April 14, 2018 begins shortly after the Cherry Blossom Parade.

  • Washington, D.C.: The Wharf is hosting a Blessing of the Fleet on May 19, 2018. At noon that day The Wharf, in partnership with the Port of Washington Yacht Club and craft brewery DC Brau, will present a party and parade by the Dockmaster Building on the Washington Channel. Boats will receive a blessing from D.C. pastors. Register your boat for the Port of Washington Yacht Club's 43rd annual blessing of the fleet here

  • Mount Pleasant, SC: Mount Pleasant's 31st Annual Blessing of the Fleet will take place on April 29, 2018 and pay tribute to local shrimping and fishing industry, with a ceremony, boat parade, live music, and activities for the whole family. Every year since 1988 the net proceeds from the festival are donated to local nonprofit organizations

  • McLellanville, SC42nd Annual Lowcountry Shrimp Festival and Blessing of the Fleet takes place 11AM - 5PM on Saturday, May 5, 2018. The Festival is four days of live music, dancing, parades, incredible food, games and more than 30 events and activities, capped off with The Blessing of The Fleet. After a procession through town, boats decked out in their finest parade past the Bishop and receive their Blessing for a safe & prosperous year.

  • Darien, GA: April 13 - 15, 2018 – Darien's annual Blessing of the Fleet is an annual festival that the Darien-McIntosh County Chamber of Commerce hosts to celebrate their biggest industry, shrimping. This three-day fun-filled event consists of an art show, various food and drink vendors, arts and crafts, a YMCA 5K, children's activities, a classic car show, nightly live entertainment and a marine parade. On Sunday we Bless our shrimp boat captains with a safe and prosperous season, which draws a crowd of 30,000 throughout the weekend. Cost for entry each day is $5 per person and children under 13 get in for free. Sunday is free to everyone. You may bring coolers in for a fee of $10 a piece. Click here for more info. 


Florida Blessing of the Fleet


  • St. Augustine, FL: The Blessing of the Fleet in St. Augustine is a historical ceremony dating back to the city’s earliest days of Spanish colonial occupation. This event takes place at noon on Palm Sunday (March 25, 2018) and invites all vessels, commercial and pleasure, to receive a blessing from the Bishop of the Diocese of St. Augustine. All vessels are welcome and encouraged to decorate with flags and bunting as well. The ceremony begins with a procession from the Cathedral Basilica along the Plaza de la Constitución to the St. Augustine Municipal Marina. This traditional blessing will then take place at the Marina. 

Seattle Blessing of the Fleet

Inland Waterways

  • Portage de Sioux, MO: This year's Blessing of the Fleet and Boat Parade will take place August 18, 2018 and celebrate first responders and armed services. Click here for more info. 

Great Lakes

  • Chicago, IL: The Blessing of the Fleet takes place May 18, 2018 on Navy Pier to coincide with National Maritime Day. After the ceremony, at 1100h the celebrants will make their way to Shoreline Sightseeing's M/V Cap Streeter which will depart at approximately 1120h. Communicating via Channel 68, the boats waiting for the blessing will form a line and wait for the wreath to be laid while “Taps” is performed. Once “Taps” is completed there will be a cue on Channel 68 for a long sounding of the horns and whistles for all participating boats. After the sounding salute, the CPD and USCG patrol boats will lead the parade past the M/V Cap Streeter for all boats to receive their blessing. When the blessing is complete, M/V Cap Streeter will return to her berth and host a reception, light fare included. Click here for more information and parade route.

Pacific Northwest




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