This year’s annual Blessing of the Fleet will take place on Saturday, April 28th at 10:30 am at the New Bern Grand Marina Yacht Club. The New Bern Grand Marina Yacht Club (NBGMYC) is partnering with the New Bern Yacht Club (NBYC) to welcome community boaters to this traditional spring event. Mariners with all types and sizes of boats are encouraged to participate.
A tradition at the beginning of each new boating season, the Blessing of the Fleet is thought to have originated centuries ago in Europe where it was common practice to bless boats to ensure safe passage and a bountiful season. Many communities across the U.S. and in Europe continue to observe this tradition at the beginning of each boating season.
“Now, more than ever, after seeing the devastation that hurricanes Irma and Harvey laced along the eastern coastline, its marinas, and southern waters, we want to make sure this time-honored tradition continues to bless our boaters on their journeys and remind the boating community that we still proudly serve as safe harbor for many boaters,” states Millissa True, on-site consultant, New Bern Grand Marina Yacht Club.
Karl Lichty, Past Commodore of New Bern Yacht Club, added, “This year NBYC is celebrating its 25th Anniversary, and we are proud to co-sponsor this important event for the entire community. We invite all local boaters to join us in the annual Blessing of the Fleet, and we look forward to a great season of boating and fellowship among mariners.”
This year’s program for registered participants will include the presentation of colors, general blessing of mariners, individual boat blessings at the docks by local clergy, and the placement of a floral wreath on the river in honor of Fallen Mariners. The wreath will be carried by an Honor Boat accompanied by the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Auxiliary. A flyover of vintage airplanes is planned by the Bandit Flight Team, weather permitting. Lunch follows the ceremony at Captain Ratty’s on Middle Street. The Blessing ceremony will take place on the large center covered patio area overlooking New Bern Grand Marina, between the Double Tree Hotel’s “Inn Building” & main lodging areas. In case of inclement weather, participants will meet on the patio before moving inside for the ceremony.
The USCG Auxiliary will be offering free vessel safety inspections dockside at the New Bern Grand Marina, both in the morning prior to the program and in the afternoon following the ceremony.
Following the Blessing of the Fleet, New Bern Yacht Club is hosting a lunch for all participants and guests in the banquet room at Captain Ratty’s. The lunch price is $15 per person with prepayment required. Make checks payable to NBYC and mail to Karl Lichty, 307 Lochbridge Dr., New Bern NC 28562. The payment deadline is Tuesday, April 24th.
Pre-registration is required for this popular event. Anyone wishing to have a boat blessed must RSVP to Karl Lichty, NBYC by Tuesday, April 24th. Provide details for your vessel (boat name, LOA and beam). Also specify whether you require day dockage or will be docked overnight at the marina.
The New Bern Grand Marina is offering free docking on the day of the Blessing of the Fleet to registered participants until 4pm that day, based on availability. For those wishing to spend the night or the weekend at the New Bern Grand Marina, please contact Jeremy McConnell, the Dock Master at the marina by calling 252-638-0318 to reserve your overnight slip. Electric and water and hookups will be provided for those boats at a cost of $1 per foot per night for overnight boats, plus daily electric of either $4/day (30 AMP) or $6/day (50 AMP). Please make sure you indicate to Jeremy that you are participating in the Blessing of the Fleet event.
All boats arriving on the day of the event should plan on arriving at the New Bern Grand Marina between the hours of 8:00 am, but no later than 9:30 am on Saturday, April 28th with staggered docking assistance based on a first come first serve. Marina and NBYC line handlers will be standing by to assist arriving boats in tying-up. As you are arriving please radio ahead, hailing the “Blessing of the Fleet Dock Master” on VHF Channel 71 for instructions on where to dock, as slips will be assigned.
Submitted by: Millissa True, SBS Forward, LLC