blessing of the fleet

This annual event is recognized across many boating communities worldwide dating back to ancient times as a way to safeguard the fleet against the coming year’s storms and protect the boats from harm. Local clergy from St Paul’s and Mother of Sorrows churches will be on hand to bless the vessels that service South Bass Island including Coast Guard watercraft and Life Flight helicopters.

Please stop by if you are in town and enjoy some hot coffee, hot chocolate, and cookies on the dock along with friendly camaraderie. The event starts at approximately 11:00 AM. Many boaters take the day off and make their way to the Bay for a blessing. Even more come stay the night to be up bright and early for the event.

A Short and Sweet History of Blessing of the Fleet

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 boaters 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 including Put-in-Bay makes its annual Blessing of the Fleet its own. Put-in-Bay celebrates with a very diverse gathering of watercraft and aircraft as well as a small gathering at the docks and refreshments. Other places incorporate boat parades, church services, contests, potlucks, and music, some even expanding the event to a multi-day festival.

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