On Saturday June 10, the Manhasset Bay Sportsmen's Club of Port Washington continued a Port tradition existing for over a half century, the blessing of the fleet. On this cold windy day, Club President John Roberts led a coterie of religious, civic leaders and Port residents to the Town Dock for ceremonies that signal the beginning of the boating season in Manhasset Bay.
The ceremonies began with a rendering of the Star Spangled Banner by Jeff Byrne of the Schreiber High School Band. Opening prayers were offered by Father Kurt Von Roeschlaub of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, Father David Lowery of Manhasset's Christ Church and Fire Department Chaplain Tom Tobin of the Port Washington Fire Department who reminded spectators to remember those now serving with our armed forces.
At 12:15 p.m., the Nassau County launch Marine 6, followed the Scuba Luba, a 24 foot Aquasport, operated by Pete Hults of the Sportsmen's Club, led a single file of boaters from Plum Point to the Town Dock. Sportsmen's Club President John Roberts was especially pleased with the large turnout of boaters and spectators. Roberts estimated that over 45 boats passed in review. As captain of his vessel, Naggy, Roberts said he was pleased with the great progress on the cleanup of Sheets Creek.
Councilman Fred Pollack was on hand to view the ceremony and praised the event and participants for continuing a great Port tradition. Pollack, who has attended the ceremony every year and has served as councilman, commented on the water quality of Manhasset Bay. He said that testing over the past two years has shown the water quality to be so good that, should testing this year continue to show the same results, he would recommend the reopening of Manorhaven Beach. Pollock said he was monitoring the progress of the Sheets' Creek cleanup. Work on the cleanup is progressing as much as the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation will allow. His advice to boaters 'be safe.'
The fleet blessing was a family affair for Town Councilman Wayne Wink who attended with his wife, Stacey and their daughter Jennifer. Michelle Schimel, the town clerk of North Hempstead, also attended. After the last boat passed in review, Father Kurt Von Roeschlaub offered the closing prayer.
The club was founded in 1945 to promote conservation in Manhasset Bay. Its membership consists of about 300 men and women of Port who operate approximately 30 vessels from their base in Manorhaven. Over the years, the club has extended many other benefits to the community including lending assistance to the handicapped, Little League and Cancer Care. A reception was held after the ceremonies at the Sportsmen's Club in Manorhaven.