February 18, 2023
Blessing of the Fleet
The Blessing of the Fleet is a traditional invocation of good fortune for boaters. The Marco Island Yacht Club invites all area boat clubs to participate with us each February. Vessels assemble in the Marco River between Factory Bay and the Jolley Bridge, and then parade past the Bridge Officers of the Yacht Club for a blessing by the Club's Chaplain.
The parade is usually led by the Marco Island Fire Department vessel, "J.W. Adams," followed by the Marco Island Princess, the participating fleets, the Marine Division of the Marco Island Police and the Chief of Police. Veterans are honored with their appropriate hymn as they pass.
We encourage all local boating organizations to participate. Boats can be grouped in fleets by organization if so desired.
Origins of the Blessing of the Fleet
The tradition began many centuries ago in Mediterranean fishing communities looking for divine protection as they went out to sea, and is now an annual highlight in many seacoast communities across the United States.
In Florida, the first blessing was held in St. Augustine, then home to a large shrimping industry employing Italian and Sicilian immigrants.
Spectators are invited to view the event from the Yacht Club as well as stay for a buffet lunch and enjoy a "Concert in the Courtyard."