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A North Shore tradition more than half a century old will be observed on Saturday, June 9. For the 52nd year the Manhasset Bay Sportsmen's Club is sponsoring the Blessing of the fleet on our bay.

Blesser and blessed. One of more than 100 members of the clergy who, over more than half a century, have given their presence and their prayers for more than 30,000 men, women, and children who have passed in review. This snapshot from the 1990 Blessing of the Fleet shows Father Kenneth Nee, Our Lady of Fatima Church, raising his hand in benediction over a Sportsmen's Club member and craft. Photo by René Reeves

As customary, crafts to be blessed are asked to rendezvous off Plum Point at 11 a.m. At 11:15 a.m. an ecumenical group of clergy will begin a short service of prayers on the Town of North Hempstead Dock. At 11:30 a.m. a second gun will signal all craft to prepare to move. At 11:45 a.m., or as ordered from the town dock, the club's Fleet Captain will start the line past the dock. The clergy will bless all boats and all embarked as they pass in review.

MBSC craft will head the line followed by US Coast Guard Auxiliary, US Power Squadrons, and bay marinas. Other boats are welcome to join in the review, following a club boat with sign leader. All craft will follow on a course past the town dock and then reverse course around a turn marker anchored north of the dock. Speed 4 knots and safe intervals between boats are essential.

Fleet Captain and the clubhouse will monitor Channel 9 VHF for additional information. The Town Marine 6 will monitor channel 16 for emergency only.

A U.S. Coast Guard Cutter from Fort Totten and a unit of the Marine/Aviation Bureau, Nassau County Police, will join the review unless called away for emergency. On the town dock, color guards from the U.S. Marine Corps League and Troop 241 Boy Scouts of America will present their banners. Trumpeters will provide music, and flower girls will place a wreath on the bay in memory of all who have lost their lives on the waters. The clergy will offer special prayers in honor of all members of our Merchant Marine who have given their lives in our service.


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