Blessing of the Fleet is an annual tradition at the Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival on Sunday afternoon. This religious blessing of all water vessels asks for a safe and productive season. Shrimp boats, commercial and recreational fishing vessels and pleasure crafts lined up to be blessed, a tradition that came with the immigrants from Mediterranean fishing communities.
A prayer is said and the ships sail past the Catholic Priest one by one as the holy water is sprinkled on each passing boat. Many communities incorporate a Blessing of the Fleet into a multi-day festival with concerts, contests, live music and feasting; not unlike our own Shrimp Festival.
Brunswick, Georgia; Jacksonville, Florida; and Darien, Georgia; are ports in our area that celebrate the blessing of local fishermen. In Maryland they celebrate to open the oyster harvesting season, here on Amelia Island, we seek blessings for plentiful shrimp.
Here is the video: