Holy Waters! Blessing of the Fleet held at Put-in-Bay

PUT-IN-BAY Holy water and prayers greeted a long line of boats Tuesday during the 22nd Annual Blessing of the Fleet a
JACOB LAMMERS
May 24, 2010

PUT-IN-BAY

Holy water and prayers greeted a long line of boats Tuesday during the 22nd Annual Blessing of the Fleet at Put-in-Bay.

A Miller Boat Line vessel crashed through the waves as Rev. Ron Brickner sprinkled the passing boat with a bucket of holy water from the edge of Fox Dock.

"Gracious God bless the entire fleet of Miller Boat Line and all who sail on it," said Brickner of the Motherof Sorrows Catholic Church inPut-in-Bay.

Miller Boat Line was followed by a long succession of ships that included the U.S. Coast Guard,Put-in-Bay police, Port Clinton police, Ottawa County Sheriff's office and local water taxis.

The Jet Express, an annualparticipant, could not make the event because of deck repairs to the lift bridge in Port Clinton, said Anita McCann, president of the Put-in-Bay Chamber of Commerce.

Sister Lucille Kime, pastoral leader of Mother of Sorrows, witnessed the blessing of the fleet for the first time.

"I thought it was very impressive and meaningful," she said. "It gives people a sense of security and confidence in the higher power to keep them safe. It's a nice sign of public faith."

The blessing of the fleet was not limited to boats.

A Life Flight helicopter executed a high-speed fly-over several feet above the dock along with the Dairy Air airplane.

After the entire line of ships were blessed, they all blasted their horns in a coordinated effort as cheers and applause rang out from the throng of people on the dock.

Although high winds kept many people dressed in layers, coordinator Charles Duggan said the event is often well-attended.

"It's a pleasant event for the island," Duggan said. "A good way to start the season off."

Rev. Webster Maughn of St. Paul's Episcopal Church and Rev. Dan Keck of St. John's Lutheran Church -- both of Put-in-Bay -- also took part in the blessing.

"I think God's blessing is significant," Keck said. "God is in the midst of all that we are given here."

As businesses open for the summer season and boats fill the docks, Maughn said the blessing is a way to give thanks.

"I think it's a wonderful thing," Maughn said. "It gives us a chance to recognize those who allow us to work and play."