More than 50 local vessels were blessed by Reverend Gary Parker of St. Stephen’s Church and Dr. Charles R. Vogeley, Reverend of Lutheran Church of Our Savior and Chaplain of the Port Washington Fire Department as part of the Manhasset Bay Sportsmen’s Club’s (MBSC) 66th Blessing of the Fleet on June 16.
“It started way back after World War II to remember all those men and women that were lost in the war and to have your vessels blessed,” said representative of the MBSC Steve Betsch. “It’s been a great tradition and we look forward to doing it every year. We look forward to continuing it.”
Organized by Robert Dickson, the Blessing of the Fleet included a presentation of colors from the Port Washington Marine Corps League and the National Anthem and Taps played on the trumpet by Port local Aaron Prindle. Vogeley read two verses from the Navy hymn “Eternal Father, Strong to Save” and the ceremonial wreath was dropped into the bay to remember the fishermen lost at sea.
“Gracious creator of the human family and all that exists, your spirit moved over the waters and you created heaven and earth,” prayed Vogeley. “By the gift of water, you nourish and sustain us and all living things. We love summer. Thank you for this season, for recreational opportunities, for boating, fishing, sailing, water skiing, kayaking, paddle boarding and swimming. Thank you for snappers, stripers, black fish, clams and oysters. Thank you for the power squadron, harbor patrol, for the town’s bay constables, for the fire department’s rescue boat, for those trained in water rescure. Bless all boaters, boats, life jackets and fire extinguishers. Keep all from the dangers of drinking while boating, speeding, waste dumping and all risky behaviors. Help us all protect our natural resources in this bay, in Hempstead Harbor and Long Island Sound in your name Lord of arks, sails and power boats we pray.”
Boat owners joined the review, forming a single line behind the MBSC boat with the sign “leader,” and proceeded past the town dock at attention to be blessed.