Thursday, May 21, 2009


More than one hundred fishing boats, dive boats, and tour boats came to receive the Blessing. Boat captains and crew members, families, friends and visitors gathered together for the annual celebration. Hundreds of participants followed the procession to the docks as each boat passed in its turn to receive a prayer asking the blessings of God on its captain and crew.

Despite windy and rainy conditions, The 52nd annual Blessing of the Fleet sailed on along the docks of the Destin Harbor on Thursday afternoon.

The past, present and future of Destin are tied to the sea. Her fishing industry is an integral part of the the fabric of northwest Florida history. The fishermen formed the backbone of early Destin. They and their families also shared their faith as members of Destin’s churches. On May 15, 1958, Ascension Day on the Church calendar, an Episcopal minister named William P. Erwin, of St. Andrew’s by the Sea Church, held a worship service asking God to bless those who made their living on the water. This Blessing of the Fleet has grown to become one of Destin’s annual celebrations and the only one of its kind between Biloxi, Mississippi and Tarpon Springs, Florida.

“Our purpose in blessing the boats was that the boats, as tools by which the people work for their living and serve others may be consecrated as worthy objects used according to God’s will; that the Lord will bless the labors of those who work the boats and prosper them; and that God will keep in safety all who come aboard.” was Rev. Erwin's words to the crowd. Those reasons still stand.

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