Blessing of the Fleet is a time to remember

Published on Wed, May 1, 2013 by Jan Hrutfiord

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The annual Blessing of the Fleet will be held this Sunday, May 5 at the Blaine harbormaster’s building in the meeting room at 1:30 p.m. The Blessing is a special occasion for the commercial fishing community and is open to all.

It’s a wonderful gathering to remember those fishers from the area who went out to sea not to return again, as well as to bless
 the local fishing fleet, which goes out to seas near and far to make a living for local families.

Those conducting the blessing ceremony include local fishers and family members, local clergy, local and state politicians and Blaine High School musicians. If you haven’t been part of this gathering lately, you are certainly invited to attend. It is something you won’t forget. 

After the wreath has flowers added by relatives or friends in memory of fishers no longer with us, it will then be taken out to sea on the Plover ferry. This old Alaska Packers Association (APA) ferry was used for years to take workers from the end of the Blaine docks across the open waterway to the APA salmon cannery which, after closing in the late 1970s, was renovated into the Inn at Semiahmoo. Up to 17 visitors are invited to ride the Plover out past the Semiahmoo Spit light to put the wreath out to sea.

There will be coffee and goodies provided by the fishers’ families after the ceremony. Photos or paintings of local fishing boats may also be viewed before and after the ceremony.

A vase of flowers will be placed next to the bronze plaque in the Seafarer’s Memorial building located just across from the harbormaster’s office. The plaque contains the names of those lost at sea since 1902.

As an added help to local fishing families, a $500 college scholarship will be provided to a Blaine High School graduate who has ties to the local fishing community. This name will be announced in a ceremony later this spring. 

If you are interested in donating to the Seafarer’s Memorial Committee’s scholarship, donations can be made as a memorial at the death of a local fisher, or to remember fishers from your past. 

All funds are held by the Blaine Chamber of Commerce, to be used by the Seafarer’s Memorial Committee for expenses to keep up the memorial structure or for this new scholarship, now in its second year.

I hope to see you at the Blessing of the Fleet this Sunday.