The Blessing of the Fleet

 The Blessing of the Fleet

Story and Photos
By Katie McFadden

Boating season has begun! On Saturday, June 1, the United Inter Yacht Clubs Association (UIYCA) and The Wharf held the annual Blessing of the Fleet to wish boaters a successful season on the water.

Hundreds of boats from 13 yacht clubs around the Jamaica Bay area passed by The Wharf late Saturday morning, where UIYCA Commander Hugh Hollingsworth and members of the U.S. Coast Guard gave a salute, while Rev. Joel Youngblood of Mount Pisgah Baptist Church in Queens and Deacon Chris Wagner of Good Shepherd RC Church in Brooklyn said blessings over each vessel.

Commander Hollingsworth began the ceremony with the Pledge of Allegiance and National Anthem, before laying a wreath off the dock of The Wharf in memory of military men and women who have served the country, and those who continue to serve.

The participating clubs included North Channel Yacht Club, Iroquois Yacht Club, Anabas Boat Club, Riley’s Yacht Club, Howard Beach Motor Boat Club, Old Mill Yacht Club, Midget Squadron Yacht Club, Diamond Point Yacht Club, Paerdegat Yacht Club, Hudson River Yacht Club, Rockaway Point Yacht Club and the Sheepshead Bay Yacht Club. The FDNY also brought out not one but two fireboats that sprayed their water cannons as the boats passed by for their blessings and the NYPD Harbor Unit made sure everyone stayed safe.

As UIYCA Commander Hollingsworth said last year, it’s all about bringing boaters together. “The whole purpose of our organization is to bring the yacht clubs in the Jamaica Bay area all together and as part of that, we do this blessing every year,” he said.

“I always look forward to this event because it kind of sets the tone for the season, making sure everyone’s using their boats safely, but also having a little extra guardian angel with them,” Deacon Wagner, a boater himself said last season.


Related post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *