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Blessing of the Fleet Ceremonies & Events


Post by Team Dockwa - Published on 4/19/22 10:00 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. But what is this festival all about and how did it originate? 

What is the Blessing of the Fleet?

The custom of the Blessing of the Fleet is a tradition observed by fishing and boating communities, where they pray for a bountiful harvest and the safety of the men at sea. The practice can be traced back to Old World Mediterranean fishing communities. While the practice originated from Catholicism and was brought to the United States by immigrants who held firmly 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. 

We've compiled a list of Blessing of the Fleet events across the United States that you can attend and enjoy. Know of a ceremony that we missed? Email marketing@dockwa.com and we'll have your event listed in a jiffy.

Blessing of the Fleet at Bayou la Batre 1968

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provincetown blessing of the fleet

Northeast


  • Boothbay Harbor: Each year, the Boothbay Community gathers in Boothbay Harbor to remember those in the maritime industry who have lost their lives to the sea, and to pray for the safety of those who continue to earn their living on the water. The Blessing of The Fishing Fleet takes place this year on Sunday, June 26th at 1:30 pm as  part of the harbor's Windjammer Days festivities. The festivities include a boat illumination and a special visit from the tall ship Oliver Hazard Perry.

  • Narragansett, RI: The Narragansett Lions Club's Blessing of the Fleet will take place this year between July 28th and 30th this year and includes an annual Seafood Festival and 10-Mile Road Race.  Festival Dates & Times:

    • Thursday, July 28, 2022, 5:00PM - 10:30PM

    • Friday, July 29, 2022 , 5:00PM - 11:00PM

    • Saturday, July 30, 2022, 12:00PM - 11:00PM

  • Cranston, RI: The Rhode Island Yacht Club will host the Gaspee Days parade of boats + Blessing of the Fleet on Sunday, June 12th from 11-1pm.

  • Provincetown, MA: This Blessing of the Fleet is part of the Portuguese Festival Weekend, held this year between June 23rd and June 26th. The festival includes four days of live music, dancing, parades, incredible food, games, and so much more. 

  • Onset, MA: Hosted by the Onset Bay Association, this event includes a parade, blessing ceremony, dance party, and bonfire! It will take place on July 2nd, 2022 at 11 a.m. Registration opens at 10am.  Visit their Facebook page for updates. 

  • Stonington, CT: One of the longest running Blessing of the Fleet ceremonies in New England, every year on the last weekend in July the annual Stonington Harbor Blessing of the Fleet ceremony remembers Stonington’s fishermen, the last fishing fleet in Connecticut. This two-day celebration includes parades, bands, food, dancing on the docks, and a Sunday Mass followed by the Blessing of the Fleet and the parade of boats. An anchor-shaped wreath is also laid on the waters outside Stonington Harbor.  We've yet to see the event page go live for this one but expect it to be soon, so keep an eye out.

  • New Haven, CT: New Haven's annual Blessing of the Fleet ceremony will take place on Sunday June 12th at 12:30 PM. It's sponsored by the St. Andrew the Apostle Society, who would like to wish all boaters and their families a safe and fun season. 

Chesapeake Bay 

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Washington DC Blessing of the Fleet
 

ICW

  • Washington, D.C.:  The annual Navy Memorial Blessing of the Fleet takes place shortly after the National Cherry Blossom Festival + Parade in early April. If you missed this year's, make sure you check it out in 2023!

  • Mount Pleasant, SC: Mount Pleasant's annual Blessing of the Fleet & Seafood Festival will take place on April 24th, 2022. The festival pays tribute to the 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, SC: The Annual Lowcountry Shrimp Festival and Blessing of the Fleet will kick-off this year on Saturday, May 7, 2022 from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The festival is full 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: Darien's annual Blessing of the Fleet, was held earlier this year during the last weekend in March. The festival to celebrates the region's 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, they Bless their shrimp boat captains with a safe and prosperous season, which draws a crowd of 30,000 throughout the weekend. If you missed it this year, no time like now to start planning for next year's event!

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Florida Blessing of the Fleet

Florida

  • 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 typically takes place on Palm Sunday and invites all vessels, commercial and pleasure, to receive a blessing from the Bishop of the Diocese of St. Augustine. 2022's was held on April 10th. 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. 

  • Destin, FL: The 65th annual Blessing of the Fleet  Event will take place on Thursday May 26th 2022. . This is one of the oldest traditions along the Emerald Coast and takes place every year at Destin's Fishing Fleet Marina. The Blessing of the Fleet is part of a week-long celebration known as Destin's Week of Blessings. 

  • Panama City, FL: The 25th annual Blessing of the Fleet, Fish Fry and Burning of the Socks will be held at the St. Andrews Marina on May 14, 2022. Fish Fry will begin serving at 10:00am with Sock Burning event to follow. Processional of water vessels starts at 12:00 noon. Proceeds benefit Second Chance of Northwest Florida, Inc, a local not-for-profit organization that provides services to brain injury survivors and their families in the community.

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Seattle Blessing of the Fleet

Great Lakes

  • Chicago, IL: The Blessing of the Fleet typically takes place on Navy Pier to coincide with National Maritime Day. While we haven't seen the updated events calendar yet, it could be coming any day so check here.

  • Bayfield, WI: The Blessing of the Fleet Ceremony returns on Sunday, June 6, 2021, at 1 pm, as commercial fishing boats, tugs, powerboats, sailboats, excursion crafts, kayaks, and rowboats parade through Bayfield’s City Harbor. 

  • Harbor Springs, MI: The Harbor Springs Area Historical Society's Annual Blessing of the Fleet will take place this year on June 30th. The event features a boat parade on Little Traverse Bay, to launch the summer season in Harbor Springs. All watercraft are welcome, including kayaks and paddle boards.

Pacific Northwest

  • Gig Harbor, WA: The Blessing of the Fleet will take place as part of the Maritime Gig Festival on June 4th and 5th, 2022. It will features a grand parade, 5K run, local food vendors, and much more! 

  • Seattle, WA Port of Seattle's Annual Blessing of the Fleet took place on April 3th this year.

  • Blaine Harbor: The Blaine Harbor Blessing of the Fleet is held on the 1st Sunday in May at the Blaine Boating Center in Blaine Harbor. This event honors those local commercial fishers who were lost at sea over the last 100 years, as well as remembering local fishers who have died since last year’s Blessing of the Fleet.

California

  • Bodega Bay, CA: The annual Blessing of the Fishing Fleet is the highlight of the Bodega Bay Fisherman’s Festival, will take place on April 30th and May 1st this year. The traditional annual blessing of the fishing fleet is an important observance for the entire community and acknowledges the key role of those who farm the seas, often at great risk to themselves. 

  • Sausalito Yacht Harbor: Opening Day on the Bay is an annual celebration of the maritime community on the San Francisco Bay. Join them aboard the traditional Schooner Freda B for the festivities including the blessing of the fleet, parade, and sail. Register here.

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Want to add your event? Get in touch! Email marketing@dockwa.com

Post by Team Dockwa

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