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To boat owners taking part:

June 15, marks the 53rd Blessing of the Fleet ceremony sponsored by the Manhasset Bay Sportsmen's Club. As customary, an ecumenical group of clergy will give the blessing from the Town of North Hempstead Dock in Port Washington.

The club's fleet captain and the town Marine 6 will head the review, followed by:

* Sportsmen's Club

* United States Coast Guard Auxiliary, Flotilla 12-02

* United States Power Squadrons, Manhasset Bay, Little Neck Bay, Bayside, Oyster Bay.

* Toms Point Marina.

* Manhasset Bay Marina

Other craft are welcome to join the review. At the rendezvous area, skippers of these craft should watch for an M.B.S.C. boat with a sign LEADER. They will form a single line behind this boat and proceed when it does . Times are as follows:

* 11 a.m. first gun signal. On The Bay, boat owners proceed to the rendezvous area off Plum Point.

* 11:15 a.m. on the town dock. ceremony of prayers begins.

* 11:30 a.m. second gun signal. On The Bay all craft prepare to move, M.B.S.C. then other craft.

* Third gun signal: 11:45 a.m. or as ordered from the town dock, the fleet captain will start the line on a course past the town dock. The fleet should approach the dock as the clergy finish their initial ceremony and stand ready to bless all boats. Noon or as close as possible.

It is imperative that boats passing in review maintain a speed of four knots and keep an interval between boats consistent with safety rules.

Sailing craft must be under power while in review.

A turn maker boat will be anchored northwest of the town dock. After passing the reviewing stand on the dock, all craft shall turn to port around the marker boat and move out of the area on the reverse of the inward course. They must maintain the indicated course and the four knot speed to avoid risk of collision.

All persons in the reviews are asked to observe proper etiquette. They should be properly dressed. While passing the clergy, all persons on board should stand at attention and uncover, ensigns - except the national flag of the United States - should be dipped in salute.

The M.B.S.C. clubhouse, the fleet captain's boat, and the leader boat will monitor Channel 9 VHF for anyone requiring additional instructions or help. The Town of North Hempstead Marine 6 will monitor Channel 16 (for emergency calls only).

The Sportsmen's Club was founded in 1945, the final year of World War II. One of the club's first programs for the benefit of the community was to introduce the ancient seafarers' custom of asking for a blessing on watercraft at the start of the boating season and remembering all who have died on the waters. The ceremony was repeated in 1946, and from 1951 became an annual event. Over the years, more than 30,000 men, women, and children have passed in review.

Part of the tradition is that each year the clergy are asked to give special prayers of remembrance. This year they have been asked to offer loving remembrance for all who lost their lives in the treacherous destruction of the World Trade Center. They will also pray for all members of our Armed Forces at home or overseas.

After the final prayer, trumpeters will sound Taps and flower girls will place a memorial wreath on the bay. Our national colors will be presented by veteran members of the Marine Corps League and by members of Troops 241 and 294 Boys Scouts of America and Senior Girl Scout Troop 5594.


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