Despite forecasts of possible rain, the sun came out for Marco Island Yacht Club’s annual Blessing of the Fleet on February 6, as 13 boats paraded in review by Commodore Geoff Walker and his Bridge Officers. Each vessel announced its captain and crew and all received a blessing from Yacht Club Chaplain Alan Sandlin from aboard Paradox, a 52’ trawler, owned by Yacht Club Bridge Officers David Randall and Shelly Derrough.
The Blessing of the Fleet is a traditional invocation of good fortune for boaters. The tradition began many centuries ago in Mediterranean fishing communities and is now an annual highlight in Marco Island and many seacoast communities across the United States.
The vessels began to assemble in the Marco River between Factory Bay and the Jolley Bridge beginning at 10 AM and then paraded past the Marco Island Yacht Club at 11 AM. The nautical parade was led by Irish Mist, a 65’ ocean cruiser, owned by past Commodore Ray Rosenberg. In addition to members’ boats, participants included two boats from the local Power Squadron, the Marco Island Princess, and the Marco Island Police boat.
Yacht Club members and guests who were not onboard vessels viewed the parade from the second-floor veranda of the Yacht Club where they had a “front row” seat to all the action.
Following the review, participants and spectators enjoyed a bountiful buffet lunch at the Yacht Club with music provided by Sun DJ.