Blessing of the Fleet returns for 34th year

Blessing of the Fleet in 2017. Photo by Richard Sturgill

By Gary Dunster

This is the time of year when we think about those who have been lost at sea and those who we have lost at home since the last Blessing of the Fleet memorial service. This year’s service will begin at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 6 at the Blaine Boating Center, 235 Marine Drive.

The event is hosted by the Fisherman’s Memorial Committee with support from the Blaine Chamber of Commerce and Port of Bellingham.

This year, the ship’s bell will ring 40 times, in honor of those who were lost at sea dating back to the early 1900’s, and eight times, for those who passed away at home since last year’s memorial.

Each time a name is read aloud, the bell will ring and a family member or friend will place a flower in the wreath. At the end of the service, captain of the historic Plover ferry, Richard Sturgill, will take the wreath to the Plover escorted by the coast guard auxiliary and then take the wreath out to Semiahmoo bay and set it free.

Selena Rogers-Pai will sing a solo at the blessing for the sixth year in a row. Blaine High School band director Bob Gray and some of his students will also perform, just as they have every year since the early 1990s.

Port commissioner Bobby Briscoe, who is also a local Blaine fisherman, will participate in the memorial service and Andy Peterson, who is the Blaine Harbor Master and a member of the Fisherman’s memorial committee, will also represent the Port of Bellingham.

Once again, the Fisherman’s Memorial Committee is offering a $500 scholarship to a Blaine High School senior this year. The scholarship has been given out for five of the last six years using the monies that have been donated to the fisherman’s memorial.

The committee understands how important the Blessing of the Fleet is to not only the fishers and their families but to the Blaine community as a whole. So we invite you to attend this event next month.

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